Terra Cinza (Ashen Land) resulted from visits to the Caldeirão hill range in southern Portugal during devastating fires. The results of these fires served as the motivation and the urgency of Terra Cinza . The ancestral relationships and livelihoods of the local populations with their environment and ecology radically changes, radically disappears, in a matter of hours. The Ashen land scape and ecosystem that result from this “inferno” made clear the need to produce work dominated by little or faded colour, by grey and black. This charred ecology, this ashen(ed) land, with its livelihood sustainability radically questioned, is dominated by brand new shining wind generators, a XXI century icon.
In Terra Cinza the photographs of the abandoned (1964) São Domingos mine ruins take the absence of colour to the extreme of black and white, removing from that landscape, from those ruins, a dominating reason for amazement, thus opening up the possibility for an alternative viewing experience, and also establishing an initial connection with the burnt hill ecology.
Representing the spatiality of the two situations – mine and hills – was an important goal, and to this effect panoramic images (6 images, c. 150-180º view) were assembled and these views complemented by more tightly framed photographs. In the panoramic views, the viewpoint intentionally avoids dominating the landscape in order to provide various paths for the observer to follow, to be drawn, to be lured, and to “enter”, this Ashen Land.
Ashen Land was publicly shown for the first time as Terra Cinza at the Galeria Fernando Azevedo at the Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes (SNBA), in Lisbon in November 2012, representing the Society at the XII Bienal de Fotografia (Photography Biennual). See video by Marta Covita.
‣ Versão deste artigo em: pt ‣