Since moving to Brazil, I’ve always chosen to stop in places bathed by the Atlantic Forest, which stretches out along the Brazilian coastline over thousands of kilometres, becoming inseparable from the Atlantic Ocean into which it flows. I’ve photographed it tirelessly over the years: when it emerges from the cobblestones in Rio or São Paolo, when I walk along the seashore to a faraway beach, or when it surrounds me at night, replete with chirping crickets, croaking frogs and crackling branches.
Yet it's a forest which is fast disappearing to absolute indifference, especially compared to the emotion triggered by the Amazon Forest. Only 8% of the surface which covered Brazil when the Portuguese invaded, remains.
Its destruction has been driven by capitalism. The Porto Sul project in particular affects me, possibly because it’s right near my home. The construction of this industrial port is currently underway, destroying acres of forest and seabed (on the migration path of whales) under our very eyes. Thousands of local jobs and livelihoods are being threatened – fisherman, the Landless Workers’ Movement, Quilombola communities and other inhabitants of the region.
'Luto' in Portuguese means mourning. Mourning the loss of the forest, its teeming life and wild, creative biodiversity dying a slow death under the muted sound of rampant capitalism.
In this work, pages from decrees and deforestation authorizations that led to the construction of Porto Sul are affixed to photographs of Mata Atlântica and the Ocean. The very ordinary A4 sheets of paper appear as anomalies, colonizing a luxuriant environment they don't belong to, and that they, therefore, hid, destroy, erase.
Like an echo of the widespread feminist street collages which have sprung up in recent years, black painted letters have changed 'luto' into 'luta'. If a simple sheet of A4 can trigger the destruction of a forest and entire ecosystems, it can also be the pillar for other fights, for social justice and climate change which will save lives and forests. Luta means fight. Like a reminder that resistance can rise from any wound. Now, more than ever, we have to grab the tools in our possession – often “the master’s tools” - to subvert them and fight in our own way. By transforming the meaning of the word it covers, the A serves here as proof that we can muster the strength to fight, to rise up against injustice, from the core of a wound. 'Luto' has the potential to become 'luta'.
inkjet prints, offset prints, feminist street posting