Maria Thereza Alves

 
Land
Recipes for Survival
Communal
Destabilizers
Birds
Seeing you
Water
Utopia
We
Borders
Plants
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We

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Bougainvillea, 2009

watercolor paintings on paper

4,634 slaves were freed by the Anti-Slavery Task Force in Brazil in 2008.

Bougainvillea flowers, originally from Brazil, grow all over Goree Island in Senegal. Indigenous peoples sold as slaves were the largest export commodity until the late 18th century in São Paulo, Brazil. Eventual population loss resulted in the trade shifting to Africa. The Portuguese used Goree Island to imprison Africans to sell them as slaves. During that time, the French navigator, Louis Antoine de Bougainville, passed through Rio de Janeiro and the flowers were named after him. Goree Island then became property of France which continued the Brazilian/Portuguese practice. No Brazilian indigenous artist has ever been invited to participate in the São Paulo Biennale. The women of Goree are spectacularly beautiful.

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