Exeter, Devon UK • Oct 4, 2023 • VOL XII
Exeter, Devon UK • Oct 4, 2023 • VOL XII
Home Arts & Lit The “Bolsonaro Effect”

The “Bolsonaro Effect”

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‘The Blood Forest’ artwork illuminates the Brazilian night as a protest against the recent deforestation crisis

In the already stunning spectacle that is the amazon rainforest, unveiled by the pouring light of the projectors, portraits of an indigenous community tower above the ground. These are the images of the Surui tribe illustrated through large scale projections blending in perfect harmony with the surroundings. The mural like composition was constructed by French artist Philippe Echaroux and unmasks a clear protest against the calamitous phenomenon of deforestations, that has recently been brought to an exasperating level. 

They are not inhabitants of the rainforest, they are the rainforest itself

During recent months the Brazilian population, pushed by the desire to increase the exploitation of their notoriously copious lands, and allegedly incited by their president Jair Bolsonaro, have started setting fire to areas of the rainforest. Once the fires are extinguished the population will install, in the now derelict areas, extensive farms focused on the production of goods such as coffee and soy. It is clear that these phenomenons of voluntary destructions, aroused by the incessant greed of a capitalist society, have susciated the anger and agitation of numerous other countries. The Brazilian rainforest also known as the “lungs of the earth”  produce about 20% of the planet’s oxygen and its eradication will have serious implications on the already growing climate change. 

To illustrate this occurring tragedy Echaroux uses as canvas the assaulted forest itself, displaying not only the riches of the flora and fauna that are being lost, but also the indigenous societies that are losing their homes and their lives everyday. Tribes such as the Surui live in close contact with nature. They are not inhabitants of the rainforest, they are the rainforest itself, like the humbly giant trees and extravagant animals. The connection with nature that has sadly been long lost by the western world is still alive and strong in these singular societies which live in harmony and understanding with the environment that surrounds them.

What is engaging about this artwork is consequently the display of the victims of these atrocities

To elevate this connection, the French artist constructs a unison between trees and portraits showing how the suffering of the burnt trees affects the latter as a population more than we could imagine. What is engaging about this artwork is consequently the display of the victims of these atrocities. Diverse thinkers have illustrated through art their protest against the “Bolsonaro effect”, but no one yet had so candidly and beautifully exposed images of the real victims in this tragedy. The exhibit of the entities affected as being not uniquely nature and animals but humans themselves accompanies the viewer to the realisation that not only a set number of indigenous populations could be at risk of extinction, but we could all be. 

In this capitalistic society where money and economic development precede life how long will it take for people to realise the long term implications of these daily sacrifices? Philippe Echaroux’s objective with this artwork is to bring to light the rainforest tragedy so that we can be aware of what is happening to our planet; but following this realisation what active role can we have? We have the responsibility to identify and be aware of goods that have been produced in deforested areas at the harrowing cost of the lives of its inhabitants. Plants, animals and indigenous societies. One of art’s objective is that to touch us with the hard truths of the word but it is our job then to be an active participant in changing those truths.

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