Charred Beauty

“Charred Beauty” is an ongoing photographic project documenting the changing landscape of an area in Portugal, destroyed by a forest fire in July 2023, which bears witness to the contemporary conflict between humanity and nature.

“Charred Beauty” is an ongoing photographic project documenting the changing landscape of an area near Cascais in Portugal which was devastated by a fire in July 2023. It took hundreds of firefighters several days to extinguish the fire which started in the Sintra-Cascais natural park and was spreading fast toward the coast. It’s where I live, work and hike.

The fire occurred during my first solo exhibition of my drawings and paintings at the municipal gallery in the adjacent town of Estoril. I noticed a resemblance between the works in my exhibition and the burnt landscape, which I wanted to capture with my camera.

I was born in Yugoslavia, and I have witnessed the impact of conflict on landscapes and lives. My art is rooted in the themes of belonging, fragility and destruction. I see the same themes here. The trees look like figures in my paintings. Signs of human presence alongside charred trees and leaves bear witness to the contemporary conflict between humanity and nature that is global warming.

"Charred Beauty" serves as a reminder of the consequences of human impact on the environment, particularly the escalating threat of forest fires in the Iberian Peninsula.

In line with my project's mission, I hope to produce a book that documents the aftermath of the fire and nature's recovery and rebirth (renascimento). In Portugal, the majority of firefighters are volunteers so I would like to donate a portion of any proceeds to them.

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