Tatiana Cardeal

Tatiana Cardeal

For many indigenous groups, such as the Kayapó, painting the body is a means of expression, a method of communication. It can say who you are or what you are doing. It is ritualistic, but it also conveys a social message. It can, for example, show the war-readiness of the Kayapó warriors, or express the celebration of their corn harvest. The painting stays on the skin for many days, like a henna painting. After a few days the black ink changes to purple, or blue, and then disappears.

We were at the Indigenous National Party in Bertioga, Brazil, celebrating indigenous culture and traditions. A Kayapó woman was painting my leg with ink made from black seeds from the genipapo fruit, so that I could join in the celebrations with them.

My focus was dancing with the movement of her hand, delicate but strong. I wanted to close my eyes, to feel deeper my body and her touch, but I was fascinated by her rhythm and the warm colours.

I heard a drum playing far away... daydreaming. Falling from the inner world, the sound called me back, and I realized that the camera was there, prepared in my hands.

I shot.

*Tatiana Cardeal* Brazil


Children’s Day

I took this image on Children’s Day at an orphanage in Brazil. The event I wanted to document was organized by the Children at Risk Foundation (CARF), and its Hummingbird Project, in the urban periphery of Diadema, São Paulo. The performance by the Hummingbird Band (_Banda Beija Flor_) for the children living in the slum and the orphanage recalls a symbolic moment in the history of Brazilian slavery and its links with the traditions of the martial art _capoeira_.

The young man in the picture is Jefferson, a youth mentor and capoeira instructor at the Foundation. He is a former street kid and understands well the value of this performance for children living in inequality. Part of the recovery programme at CARF, capoeira is an important tool in rescuing kids from the hardship of the streets, just as it was during the freedom struggle of Brazilian slaves more than a century ago. This symbolic moment is not only about the plight of his African brothers and sisters but also relates to Jefferson’s own struggle for freedom from drugs and the streets; he too is one of those who has recovered with the help of a capoeira youth mentor and instructor.

*Tatiana Cardeal*

Tatiana Cardeal

I was resting for a moment, after shooting the opening march of the seventh World Social Forum, the first time it had taken place in Africa. People were arriving at Nairobi’s Uhuru (Freedom) Park, and it was a nice place to celebrate, with music and dance and the beginning of the activities.

Streetkids were playing in the lake beside me, a lake covered with yellow flowers.

They were very absorbed in what they were doing, and I approached them, curious about their movements. I photographed them reaching eagerly for some very tiny fishes.

Their food.

Some kids were fishing with plastic bags, others with their hands. I was especially fascinated by their ability, their hands’ dance, and I started feeling almost hypnotized... Then, for a second, I forgot they were hungry streetkids fishing in the poverty of Africa, and for a few moments, I saw them as strong spirits, sons of the earth, painting the sky in the water.

Another possible world, if you like.

*Tatiana Cardeal*
Brazil social photography http://tatianacardeal.blogspot.com/

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