Lush green forest, winding waterways, exotic animals—all imagery conjured up by the Amazon. Its rainforest produces 20% of the world's oxygen, and covers so much area that if it were a country, it would rank ninth in size, yet deforestation continues to be a critical issue on a global and local level. The indigenous Suruí tribe has been groundbreaking in their use of technology to protect their land, and continue to innovate by asking French artist Philippe Echaroux to highlight the beauty and fragility of their environment.
Chief Almir Surui Narayamoga extended the invitation to Echaroux—who is known for his commercial photography and public light projections—to visit the tribe and create The Blood Forest, a series of portraits projected into the Amazon rainforest. “It is a gentle art in form and not aggressive to the environment but extremely impacting and engaged,” the project states. Much of the land has been subject to massive deforestation and “gold washers” (a term that refers to the people who have migrated over to “seize deposits of precious stones”), endangers the territory and its people. For the first time ever, the area has more gold washers than natives.
With the Suruí working on reforestation programs, the projections are a powerful reminder of the native people's place and the connection between man and nature. Pride in their native land radiates from the subjects, whose projected faces are cleverly positioned, allowing them to engage with the natural environment. Partially submerged in water or gazing into the starry night, these individuals remind us that, one by one, we can make an impact—both negative and positive—on the world around us. The Blood Project aims to alert the world, urging international spectators to realize: “When you cut a tree, it’s like putting down a man.”
The series will be on exhibit at the Taglialatella Gallery in Paris from November 10 to December 16, 2016.
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My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Agence A.