giovedì 24 luglio 2014


Dutch photographer Claire Felicie lived with the Xukuru in Brazil for five weeks, documenting the tribe in both their contemporary clothes and traditional Xukuru dress.

The filosophy of Bem Viver (Good Life), as practised by the Xukuru:
“We emphasize again that life is sacred, and that the earth, our mother, nourishes us and offers our sanctuaries a stay. We need to take care of her, which is a prerequisite for a ‘Good Life’. We experience how politics and big development projects initiated by the federal government, threaten us and invade our areas to destroy the holy nature and Mother Earth, and disturb and hinder the ‘Good Life’. We reject the construction of dams, of building nuclear power plants, the diversion of the San Francisco River, and other plans for the exploitation of indigenous lands in Brazil. We know that the ‘Good Life’ should entail a change of institution. Therefore it is necessary that we reject the values ​​of the colonial rulers , where they are still being practiced . We want to live with respect for nature, water, forests, rocks, mountains and animals. We respect the elderly, women, youth and children. Older people are an example to us. Solidarity, unity, participation, friendship, religion, dancing the Toré, harmony, freedom, impartiality, obedience, we want to live and cherish these values. We invite anyone who wants to join us to build the ‘ Good Life ‘.”
In northeastern Brazil near the town of Pesqueira in Pernambuco state, the Xukuru Indians live in two worlds: one in the present, modern day, where they run successful microbusinesses and provide surrounding communities with organic milk and vegetables, and one in the past, where they perform a traditional dance called the Toré and wear tribal clothing in order to rebuild a lost identity and culture. Today, around 12,000 people identify themselves as descendants of this indigenous community. But this pursuit to reclaim their heritage is relatively new, emerging after centuries of post-colonization intercultural marriage and forced assimilation.
Dutch photographer Claire Felicie lived with the Xukuru for five weeks earlier this year, documenting the tribe in both their contemporary clothes and traditional Xukuru dress. She shot individual portraits with the Hipstamatic iPhone app, selecting Tinto 1884, a filter that, in her mind, illuminates the Xukuru's struggle -- a "mix of the modern with the traditional" -- and ultimately raises a critical question: "Is this 're-identification' possible or is their "authentic" culture definitely and irreversibly … lost?" she asks. "Or do these people create a new kind of identity, well fit for the 21st century?"
The trappings of modernity have not lured even the younger generations away from their tribal customs, Felicie says. Most are proud to wear traditional dress, to take part in the rituals, to follow the teachings, to live the bem viver -- the good life. 
Above, Chico Jorge leads a Toré, a sacred dance, in the village Cimbres on a Sunday afternoon.
All images © Claire Felicie
Credit text: foreignpolicy
 Credit photos: lensculture
“I was born in the south of the Netherlands, in the city of Breda, in 1966, and am currently based in Amsterdam. At the age of four I was confronted with my mother’s death. The sudden loss of a beloved family member affected me deeply even at such a young age. Ever since I have been fascinated with how we cope when we lose those close to us. What happens when our dreams or fantasies are destroyed, what makes life bearable after those tragic moments and do we find reconciliation in the end?
The first pictures I took was at age 18 with my brother’s camera, the second I saw them after getting them developed I was hooked. I had to get my own camera and pursue my new passion. Maybe childhood memories played an important role in this. My father was a passionate (although amateur) photographer himself and made 24 home made photo books, full of black and white pictures, covering eight years of daily family life with my mother in the leading role. It was only by looking through these albums that I got an idea of how my mother was like. It was as if jumping back in time and witness her life through these photographs. My father stopped with making these albums after her death. So, photography for me is so much more than ‘just pictures’. Without photography I wouldn’t have ‘known’ my mother. Through these experiences from my early childhood, photography has a certain ‘mystic’ and ‘magic’ for me, which I hope to attain in my own work as well.
In 1988  I moved to Amsterdam with my husband. We are a couple since puberty, and we were married in our early twenties. In Amsterdam, I gave birth to my eldest son, who is now a marine in the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, and took up a study History at the University of Amsterdam . At that time it didn’t occur to me that I could become a professional photographer, and I chose a study that I’m still very much interested in, and take my advantage of.
Because my husband and I wanted a big family, we got four more children in the next coming years. It was a busy time with five little children, but it was a happy time and I never quit my photography. With all the children in bed, I went to my dark room (which was only a darkened kitchen or bathroom) to print my photographs.
In 2002, I met an important figure in the photography scene at that time, Herman Hoeneveld, now sadly departed. He was very enthusiastic about my pictures of my own children (the series ‘In the forecourt’) and he immediately arranged a portfolio in an important photo magazine and a meeting with the excellent Suzanne Dechert, director of the Melkweg photo gallery in Amsterdam. She was very touched by my work and arranged a solo exhibition in her gallery. It was through these events, that I decided to start my own business in photography.”

All images © Claire Felicie

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