These last few months have been so strange with a pandemic that has taken such a toll, worldwide. In the last few weeks we have seen worldwide protests against systemic racism, police brutality and the struggle to imagine that black and all lives matter. In some ways I am reluctant to post about my good fortune. And yet I am so grateful and thankful for all the support I continue to receive. Images from my project “Siren Song” are part of the Photoville Fence New England exhibition on display in Winchester, MA, this summer. A photograph from “Siren Song” is included in the PhotoPlace Gallery exhibition Dreamscapes and Visions. Lastly, pictures and text from my project, “This Miracle,” were posted as a small photo essay in the online magazine, Edge of Humanity. This has all been a tremendous honour!
I’m very delighted and honoured to have been included in this year’s LensCulture Emerging Talents Award. Thank you to the Jurors for picking me as one of the top 50. The work is part of my on going project “This Miracle.”
True story: From time to time I go through my spam email in case something was thrown into it by mistake. The letter from Jim Casper informing me that I was selected was in that pile from a few days prior. Even though I doubted it was spam, I had to find out. So I wrote to him in a separate email (I had to be safe, after all). Amazingly, it was not spam. As you already know…
I’m very honoured to have won Runner Up in the 11th Julia Cameron Award for the Abstract & Still Life category. Thank you to the Jurors. The work is part of my on going project “This Miracle” which is a personal exploration into the human landscape in Bahia, Brasil.
One day, in the middle of my art residency on the island of Ilhabela (Sao Paulo State, Brazil), I got a ride with a 4×4 Jeep (one of the few vehicles that can navigate the rocks and holes over the island’s central mountain which is part of the Atlantic Forest), to Castelhanos. My visit was but a few short hours, but one kind couple welcomed me into their home.
They were exceptionally sweet. We exchanged names but sadly I forgot to write theirs down. We managed to communicate somehow – me with my poor Portuguese, and the three of us with our hands. He was a fisherman who made his own nets. She stayed at home. I never asked if they had children.
The house had one small bedroom, large enough for a bed and a chair, a very modest kitchen, and an even more modest bathroom. Outside, in the back, a few chickens ran about. She proudly showed off her new washing machine to me; her life has been made easier. This washing machine matters. Shortly after that I left. If only I can recall their names.
The sequence of 20 photos in this post is a glimpse of the immediate environment in and around the two houses on the property of the Casa Na Ilha Art Residence, in Brasil, facing the Atlantic Ocean with the Atlantic Forest behind it. I have wandered in and out of these houses and up and down the grounds (the houses sit on the rocky slope that borders the forest). Since I am the only artist staying here this month, the days are my own. This gives me a chance to look at the small things and not just the magnificent landscape surrounding me. The forest is known to have a similar biodiversity to that of the Amazon. Daily, I take note of the diverse flora and the myriad of birds, butterflies, and fruit trees growing here. 60% of all of Brazil’s threatened animal species live in this forest.
What attracted me to the residency was the idea of slowness – an art residence that sits on the edge of the forest, on the island of Ilhabela, off the north coast of the state of Sao Paulo. There is one main road that runs north/south on the west coast and goes through three small tourist towns that are easy to avoid. 85% of the island is preserved. So… staying here I have the opportunity to just think and/or create without distraction. It is a retreat of sorts.
Before I arrived I had a specific idea of what I wanted to do: visit and photograph the native Caicara people and their homes in Castelahnos on the east side of this island (just beyond the state park) and on Bonete beach on the south side of Ilhabela. However, as it turns out, my first two weeks were more about taking the time to think and photographing the houses and land, here. This environment allows for reflection.
Trees bow and sigh in the wind. The ocean rolls and crashes or whispers a breath. At times, ones sounds like the other. Insects, such as beetles, ants (and of course mosquitoes) abound. The commotion and calls of parrots in the trees wake me up at 5am and later remind me that it may be time to stop working, or at least take a moment to listen to them, at around 5 in the afternoon.
My room, to date, has been a magnet for:
- a spider (non-venomous, hairy, approximately one inch long with a leg span of about three inches)
- a (dung?) beetle (about three inches long and one-two inches wide) – it sadly did what many beetles do: hit a wall or door, fall on their backs, struggle to turn over and fail, then die
- a baby tree-rat (that scared me half to death when I saw it at the foot of my bed)
- a cockroach
- a few fireflies
Of course, none of this is unusual given that most of the island is forest and the house sits at its edge.
Everything is on the move and has its rhythm and yet there is a quiet here – a stillness. In part, these photos capture this.
In my blog post, last week, I mentioned that I took a workshop with Ernesto Bazan in Chapada Diamantina, Brasil. He and I also spent much of January in Brasil with another group of people in Salvador de Bahia and Reconcavo Bahiano (in and around the city-town of Cachoeira). This mid-winter trip made me quite certain that I want to return and continue photographing in the province of Bahia so that I may proceed with work on (what is now) my project, This Miracle.
Please do take a look at the galleries of photographs from the Bazan workshop this past January, in the group we called “With Legs.”