disclaimer

 

"I am very selective of all objects that surround me. It's not often that I come across that which resonates with what I envision. But once in a while, I MUST own an object: My copy of leaves of grass; Irwin Glusker's moon calendar; FRIDA-Like dress; Crystal pendant.

I pick these carefully. I have NO energy, time or space to spare. What goes on my desk, walls or shelves matter as much to me as what goes into my body: Non-GMO; organic; grass-fed; Local whenever possible. 

I only claim a piece of art for myself on rare occasions. And, I hope you do the same. "Add to cart," and Art should not be trivial. Look at it. Do you need it? Go to the next. Breathe it in. Is that the one?

It might not be the right piece. It might not be the right time. But next time you are about to claim something for yourself, I hope you can find it here."

- Jennifer Cabral-Pierce

 
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There is a story behind each print.


STRANDED

The residents in the island of Tinhare in northeastern Brazil gaze at the sea in a manner that only those who depend on its generosity do. The complete absence of cars preserves a singular architecture and transports those who pass by the island to a time when women balanced wraps of tidbits over their heads, men carried heavy volumes through the streets, cars were pulled  by animals and parasols were used for long walks.

They live as time, stranded.

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There is a story behind each print.


 

ARRASTAO

Residents of a fishing village swarm to a beach in the region of Cairu, in northeastern Brazil, for a day of labor.

Few livelihoods are as communal as Fishing. Fellow fisherman share their boats, nets and the catch at the end of the day.  Once a knowledge passed from one generation to the next that allowed its beholder a lifetime livelihood, artisan fishing is now in decline.

Unlike most regions of the country, in 2007, the State of Bahia still had more than 80% of its fishing industry based in artisan fishing according to Brazil’s Environmental Protection Agency - IBAMA. But more often than not, small boats cannot compete against commercial vessels; the guidance by stars and tides is being replaced by the convenience of sonars to locate shoals, and the ecological impact of predatory fishery and pollution are turning once plentiful fishing now scarce.

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There is a story behind each print.


Along a river

At the village of Corrego do Andre, in southeast Brazil, Wania Isabel da Silva (13) insisted that I followed her to her favorite place. I thought she would take me to the river that runs beside her house. The River Sao Joao is famous in the area for the fishing it provides. To my surprise, she took me to a dirt road in the opposite direction of the river's bank. Her two brothers, Wando Pereira da Silva (9) and Gracemar Apolinario da Rocha (4) followed along.

I asked why they wouldn’t go swimming on such a hot afternoon. I wasn't expecting to hear that the clear waters of the river were polluted. But for local folks, the rareness of the fish had been enough evidence of the contamination of the river. Suddenly, we were interrupted by the youngest brother saying out of nowhere: "My father likes Brazilian rum". Hinting the reason why the father left the family and moved away to another town. They would take me to the house his father had started to build for the family. It was abandoned. They had moved next door where their grandmother, Dona Teresa gladly welcomed her daughter and three kids. 

As we reached a tree with an immense top and shade the girl said she would love to have a picnic there one day. She probably never had the chance. According to family plans, she was being sent away to live with her aunt in a big city where she could find better opportunities, not only to study but also, work. In 1999, Unicef estimated that 14.5% of the Brazilian girls, age 10 to 14, worked as maids. Wania probably added to these numbers.

 

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Extractivists

From the coast of Bahia, it takes 40 minutes to reach the farm of Julio Mello in Northeastern Brazil. I ride on the back of a truck. The hot sun releases the scent of fruits growing in the region. I can smell and almost taste caja fruit, cupuaçu and acerola in the air as I cross the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Of the Tropical Forests, it's the most generous in biodiversity. In the state of Bahia, 270 species were cataloged in a mere hectare. Even though this ecosystem is protected by Brazilian environmental laws, only 7% of the original forest is left. The forest remains to the population that doesn't migrate looking for labor in the urban agglomerations scattered in the Atlantic coast. At least patches of it. They could easily live off the forest's abundant fauna and flora but instead, they have to offer their labor in exchange for a salary and a place to live with their families. Most Brazilians have no land to call their own.

Land ownership is privilege of a few – two-thirds of all arable land is concentrated in the hands of only 3% of the population. No wonder the Landless Workers' Movement (MST) was originated in this nation. Since the 1980's MST remains as the prime advocate for land reform. It uses the invasion of large unproductive land as its main tactic to vindicate the landless. It is estimated that 166.000 families are living in squatter camps on invaded properties in Brazil.

Outside a typical mud house from this region built with straws, twigs and branches, a 2-year-old is sucking on a mango. A woman holds a broom made of dried leaves. She is meticulous as she swipes the dirt floor underneath her bare feet. She greets me with a smile and invites me to come closer. She walks out of the house with a bundle in her arms and proudly introduces her 2-days-old daughter, Joseane. The baby's father had already left to work, he will spend his day of labor working on someone else's land. At least he found a conscious landowner to work for. At the farm owned by Julio Mello, this family will sustainably collect the riches of the forest, respecting the rate of regeneration each species needs to allow the survival and growth of the Atlantic Forest. In return, the forest shows its generosity giving abundant cocoa, caja fruit, guarana, cupuaçu, cashew, Palm of oil fruit and acerola. It is as if the forest knows not many land owners are of this kind.

For Mr. Mello exploiting the land means preserving it. He mostly collects what the forest offers. When clearing for a crop is necessary he makes sure to keep as much as possible of the original vegetation in some other area of his property. He takes me to one of the areas of Atlantic Forest he preserves. It is intact. As I step into the forest I am engulfed by the thick humid air. The sun cannot accompany us as we penetrate the vegetation, but its heat can. We haven't even walked for 20 minutes and I'm covered in sweat. The vegetation is luxurious: exotic flowers, gigantic leaves, and contorted trunks. From inside the shaded forest, Mr. Mello asks me to turn around as he points to his neighbor's property. No trees are left, only cattle herds that look like small dots on a map. The land looks naked under the thin grassed fields. The landscape is now too vast. Everything will seem small after I've being inside the forest.

A school bus passes in front of the farm's gates. Hamilton, a handy boy in the property, is burning firewood to slowly roast cashew nuts.
Like his brother's before him, Hamilton is planning to abandon school to his mother's dismay. Between smoke and smiles, he tells me about the house he wants to build for his girlfriend, and his wish to be a father one day. Dusk envelops us while the roasted nuts glow red inside a cast iron pan. Our conversation ends with the fire. As I walk away I can't help but hope for his children to stay in school, and for them to have their own piece of land one day.

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