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In São Paulo, a giant fresco made from the ashes of the Amazon

2021-10-23T04:04:59.243Z

Artist Mundano has seen with his own eyes the fire soldiers fighting the flames that eat away at the world's largest forest. He pays homage to them through a monumental work.



The ashes flow through a sieve to the container full of paint.

It is with charred remains of the lush vegetation of the Amazon and other regions of Brazil that a giant fresco was created on the facade of a building in São Paulo.

Officially inaugurated on Tuesday, Mundano's work,

The Firefighter of the Forest

, depicts a fire soldier, both heroic and powerless in the face of a fire.

Read alsoHow the fires in the Amazon accelerate the melting of the Andean glaciers

After collecting 200 kg of ashes in different biomes ravaged by flames, the artist created a huge 1,000 m2 fresco on a building very close to Avenida Paulista, artery in the heart of the Brazilian megalopolis.

The ashes come not only from the Amazon jungle, but also from the Pantanal, the Mata Atlantica - forest in the coastal areas of Brazil - and the Cerrado savannah.

The fresco was made from 200 kg of ashes.

AMANDA PEROBELLI / REUTERS

“This idea came to me from a feeling of helplessness.

For decades we have seen the forest burn, more and more in recent years, with record levels

,

confides this 36-year-old artist and activist to AFP.

In early 2020, Mundano (who wishes to be called by that name alone) painted another giant fresco, using toxic mud residue from the Brumadinho mining dam, whose tragic rupture in January 2019 left 270 people dead.

Gray everywhere

With the ashes, Mundano wishes to make the inhabitants of São Paulo aware of the fires which devastate every year remote regions of Brazil, a huge country with continental dimensions.

“The forest fires in the Amazon are too far away, no one really sees them.

The idea is to bring the ashes here to create empathy, ”he

explains.

In June and July 2021, during his expeditions to collect ashes, he felt the extreme heat of the fire but also the distress of the firefighters who tirelessly fight against the fires ravaging the flora and fauna.

Read alsoFires in the Amazon: Brazilian President Bolsonaro finally accepts foreign aid

On his fresco, next to a firefighter, a black man with determined gaze, we see a caiman skeleton.

The black or gray palette varies according to the quantity of water used, but also according to the origin of the ashes, kept in large transparent boxes duly labeled.

The black and white fresco contrasts with the vivid colors of São Paulo's graffiti.

“The city is gray, with asphalt, pollution.

We are also turning gray, ”he

laments.

Graffiti artist during his adolescence, Mundano became known in 2012, by decorating carts of collectors of recyclable materials with colored paints and messages such as

“my vehicle does not pollute”

.

The painter Portinari

With the fresco made of ashes, this committed artist denounces the carelessness of successive governments,

“negligent”

and incapable according to him of preserving the environment.

And the situation has only worsened under the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro: since the start of his mandate, in 2019, nearly 10,000 km2 have been deforested per year on average in the Amazon, against 6,500 km2 during the previous decade.

Read alsoJair Bolsonaro denounces to the UN a "brutal campaign of disinformation" on the Amazon

Fires, which occur after deforestation, with burning to make way for agriculture and cattle ranching, have also reached alarming levels.

"The government is dismantling environmental policies and violating the rights of vulnerable populations

,

"

including indigenous people, insists Mundano.

The ash fresco is inspired by a famous painting by the Brazilian painter Candido Portinari (1903-1962),

O Lavrador de Café

(“The plowman of the coffee field”).

As in this 1934 work, Mundano's fresco shows a black man, his face turned to the side, with vegetation in the background.

The work was modeled on a volunteer firefighter whom the artist saw fighting the flames.

AMANDA PEROBELLI / REUTERS

Mundano's model is a very real man, Vinicius Curva de Vento, a volunteer firefighter whom he saw fighting the flames of Cerrado.

But if the Portinari plowman has a spade to turn over the earth,

the Forest Fireman's

shovel is

used to smother the flames.

And the lush vegetation of the painting gives way to a landscape charred on the fresco, with trucks carrying tree trunks.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-10-23

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