Nos Txon

Marta Pinto Machado

2019 - 2021

Portugal; France; Cape Verde

“Nos txon”, is a Cape Verdean expression that means our place, the name given to the pro- ject, appears as an allusion to the idea of loss of the subject and the loss of geography intro- ducing an idea of belonging and melancholy in relation to the place, while at the same time it evokes a direct relationship between a subject and a geography as a feeling of belonging, i.e., an idea that two elements that combine the individual are separated, generating the idea of loss, of "sodade".

Looking through a territory and a reality that is familiar to me by my Cape Verdean mother who traveled to Europe, the intention is to understand the revisited memory of the body as part of the landscape and the camera as a social instrument in reading the subject in her inser- tion in a place. A reading is sought, as much as an understanding of place as a concrete phe- nomenon made up of concrete “things” that relate to the individual and that interrelate with each other, sometimes with a sense of belonging.

This project uses the album polaroids of my mother, self.portraits made with the no artistic intent but as a simple act of recognition of herself as an individual, as a person, while working as a handmaid through the years when she migrated to Paris from Cape Verde, in order to pay for school. Put in a place of alterity, as a black, women and maid, these pictures were the catalyst to tell a common story to african women before and immediately after colonization.

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  • Transl.
    Usually I took a picture when I was going to the school I was studying at.

  • Transl.

    I liked to feel beautiful, the frustration of being a “bonne” was enough, I said to myself, “I didn't come here to be anyone's bonne”.

  • Transl.
    I had a letter that she (madame D.) wrote me after I came back to Portugal, that started with 
“ma petite Lucie...”

  • Transl.
    When I went to school I was myself, not “la bonne”.

  • Transl.
    Monsieur D. taught me to shoot a 38 caliber, when he took me to serve meals at friends’ parties at his house in Normandy. On those days I slept in the guard’s house with the gun next to me, in case an intruder showed up and I needed to shoot.

  • Transl.
    During the afternoon, after school, sometimes Monsieur D. would make me do dictations in French, he would lie in bed dictating while I’d kneel on the floor with the notebook on my legs.

  • Transl.
    Sometimes we talked from one window to the other, in the morning she (Fathima, Algerian maid of the family next ao door in Neuilly-Sur-Seine) was on the upper level at the laundry and I was in the kitchen. One day, in the morning, she asked where I was going with rouge on my face, to which I answered that I wasn’t going anywhere, I just wanted to feel pretty.