Installation views, LUUANDA Artist Residency, 2019 Colectivo Pés Descalços and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Photographed over a period of 3 years, this project developed through an immersion into an agricultural and human territory that, although small in size, presents enormous complexity and heterogeneity. The agricultural perimeter named Tchon d’Holanda (meaning “Dutch Land”) is a project of the government of Cape Verde, with funding from the Dutch Cooperation. The technology behind this initiative was the use of treated wastewater from the sewage plant for the irrigation of vegetables and fruit plants. The introduction of this technology was expected to encourage the extension of the agricultural area in Ribeira de Vinha and mitigate the adverse environmental conditions and water scarcity. In the field, I met dozens of farmers who complained about access to limited amount of water and lack of investment and monitoring in the short, medium and long term. These conditions have resulted in a situation of neglect and isolation, while soil and crops have been continuously deteriorating, affecting the approximately 90 farmers who subsist here very precariously. Still, whenever I visit my acquaintances there, they always offer me a piece of whatever is growing in their vegetable gardens. The many seed packets I collected are just an indication of how farmers are held hostage to commercially available seeds in Cape Verde, imported from several western countries and poorly adapted to the local climate, with serious consequences on the impoverishment of local and national genetic and cultural heritage. In addition to the usual difficulties of subsistence agriculture practiced in Cape Verde, this “enclosed garden” is an example of the typical contradictions of international cooperation, leading to the negligence and marginalization of enormous human capital and a wealth of accumulated knowledge and experience.
Tchon d'Holanda was created with support of Ci.CLO Photography Biennial and was presented in the collective exhibition "Adaptation and Transition" (2019) curated by Virgílio Ferreira.
This work was produced in the scope of PARALLEL European Photo Based Platform and presented in the collective exhibitions "Currents Shift" (2019) at the Chateau d’Eau, in Toulouse, France, curated by Jon Uriarte, and "Zeitgeist" (2019) at the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center, in Budapest, Hungary, curated by Judit Gellér and Emese Mucsi.
Escuta os Bárbaros em Primeiro Lugar
For Journey, me and my friend and designer Jorge Almeida approached a peri-urban area in the outskirts of our hometown and walked alongside roads, marginal lands, abandoned fields and fallow territory. We were attracted to these places where the apparent sense of wilderness is, nevertheless, contaminated by the human presence. Our attention is deflected to the wild plants that grow under the influence of cultural and agricultural practices, thus living in a defiant space between wilderness and unintentional domestication. The excerpts adapted from Darwin's "The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication" teaches us that very few things in the world still remain in their wild, original state, and that the human influence is much more subtle than we might at first imagine (notwithstanding, that's not even quite accurate nowadays). Within our artist book, text has the function of providing some context, while, more predominantly, introducing new meanings and possibilities for understanding the images.
Finalist at Unseen Dummy Award 2014 Finalist at Dummy Award Kassel 2015 Part of On Landscape Project, Matèria Gallery, Rome, 2015
Casa para Outros
Site-specific installation, Temporary Occupations, Next Future Programme, 2013 with Rita Rainho and Ângelo Lopes and workers Jorge Andrade, José Évora, Ravi Santos and Stefan Andrade