THE MURA INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND THE DEFORESTATION OF THE AMAZON RAINFOREST

My current project is on the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil that is affecting the Mura Indigenous village of Itaparana.  There, illegal loggers have cut large extensions of their trees, burned their forest, dried out their sacred river, and stolen their rocks to construct the BR 230 Amazon Highway to grass cattle and to crop soybeans.

 

The Mura indigenous people are defending Itaparana by guarding their village, they are also opposing the construction of the BR230 Amazon Highway. The BR230 is used to transport the illegal timber and gravel extracted from Itaparana. The indigenous have requested the Brazilian government to legalize their traditional territories and turn them into reservations, so they would be protected under the Brazilian constitution from intruders. But Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, wants to legally open the Amazon for business to loggers, ranchers, and farmers. Brazil has become the number one exporter of meat and soy beans all over the world.

 

I traveled to the Brazilian Amazon rainforest in September of 2020, and in November of 2019 to photograph the Mura indigenous people with a large film camera. I printed the negatives using the silver gelatin photographic process on Hahnemühle Art paper. My work bridges the fields of artistic and documentary photography using a range of alternative photographic processes and digital photography. As a whole, the photographs pay tribute to the long history of struggles the Mura have engaged since the conquistadors arrived in the Amazon to today. Now, the Mura are facing the risk that the largest rainforest of the planet, where they have been living before colonial times, could become a savannah soon due to deforestation.

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