At a given moment of the journey I caught myself listening to a voice that shouted inside my being. The world was begging to be seen in another way, with more empathy and compassion. I gave myself up to this call and let it conduct myself. I began exploring more, questioning more and when I realized, I was looking at the world with the eyes of a child. Childhood is a kingdom where nobody dies, where everything is possible. During childhood, we build and rebuild, unveil mysteries and are at our best innovation capacity.
And this essence of mine has made me connect to the most varied kinds of cultures. And each time I connected myself to one of them, I tried to extract not what was on the outside, but the intrinsic feelings that pumped through their souls.
So in 2016 I met a Haitian immigrant community that arrived in the South of Brazil looking for better life conditions. Whoever saw them perceived sadness, much suffering and a never ending search for some change. But I saw beyond looking at those children. And thus this portrait project happened, starting from visits to their families, that lived under precarious life conditions. Their children, with scarce access to toys and without any conditions to participate in extracurricular activities, begged with their eyes for some attention. We started with some gatherings at their houses to create this bond and playful photographic sessions. Their desire to express themselves, to play and be portrayed was latent.
My motivation, originated from the observances of my surroundings, and my faith in letting a mark of hope in each of those hearts boosted this beautiful project. This project has become much more than something common, it showed to each one of those children that they should feel valued, that they are unique and important to the transformation of happiness among people, and that they are the authors of their own story, owners of their fate, and that is why they became co-creators in the production of the photographic sessions.
This work happens in a vivid and spontaneous interaction between the children and me, with the camera ready to shoot. I consider it very important to get to know whoever I am shooting, to understand his or her story, way of being, dreams and ideas. The story of these children’s and teenagers’ lives is marked by courage and resilience against the destruction of their country and their transcontinental travels to find a place in the sun. This has taken me to look for an aesthetics capable of evoking these children’s tremendous inner force, contrasted with their fragility and, at the same time, their purity and dreaming nature.
Our gatherings became creative children’s games. The poses, thought together, came many times from their initiative. The elements we used to compose the pictures were the ones we had at hand, with an easy and no cost access. We used from plastic fruits that were there as ornaments on the tables to plants and branches found in their gardens. Blankets were stretched out on the ground, in the garage or in their backyard, and became our photographic background, and the natural light became our partner. The important thing was showing that beyond our conditions, what makes the difference in any situation of our journey is our capacity to innovate and create, and make beauty from the simple things. It is the boldest creation of an opportunity.
Photographing is, in a certain way, like the act of writing. You choose the characters, the scenery, the plot, the narrative, that is, the aesthetics. Reflecting upon these perceptions, I realized some affinities with the verbs “to embroider” and “to play”. I think that it is possible to write through the stitches that appear in the revived past. The thread is made of memories brought in stories that have the freedom to change the tone, saturation, luminance, exposure, density, intensity, temper, flavour, sound and smell in accordance to the needs felt. The possibilities to its direction are infinite, after all, there are many stitches, making it possible to sew them in the most varied forms.
The path is not linear. Children are open to new experiences, to play and explore their imagination. And such freedom is explored in my artistic work, connecting lines, colors and textures through the handmade embroidery on the portraits printed on fabric, showing the originality behind each portrait.
I weave through the threads the connection between the portrait and the stories that belong to the children, fulfilling the role that art has: to elucidate the world so the comprehension and empathy transform freedom in equality.
Children’s and teenagers’ freedom of speech and inner force is printed on this fabric, exploring the use of medium and techniques capable of giving voice to the plots narrated by the individuals who are portrayed in an original context.
This encounter of originality among the me and the portrayed, and their stories shows the transformation power that the artist causes through this singular project. With such noble manifestation, just as my connection with the art world, I dear to say this project is as broad as love.
Technique: Digital photography printed by sublimation on a fabric with a vibrant finish called "cacharrel" (100% polyester) dubbed with twill fabric to get firmness. These pictures are part of the serie "Inner Light" and were embroidered by hand with cotton lines. In this way, they are unique pieces. The whole printing area includes a margin of 7cm wide around the image. Its totally size are 63,7cm height by 43,7cm widht ht by 0,5cm depth including the margins.
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