How far does a community have to live to be out of sight? 20 minutes by boat serves. Combu is a little island just across the river from Belém, the metropolis of the northern region of Brazil. Its residents are mainly working with growing acai berry and living from family farming, in a very close relationship with nature. Their village has no roads, only the river as it goes crossing through the whole island. Kids grow up helping their parents around the island and visiting the local school when there is a boat to bring them. Unfortunately, it is not often enough. Even though they are very close to the capital of the state of Pará, it seems to be forgotten by the local leaders, leaving the local population without basic services, such as drinking water or proper medical care.
Sebá Tapajós, a Brazilian artist recognized their problem and helped as he could: with art. Tapajós, with the help of other Brazilian artists, used the walls of the houses as canvas, the forest, and rivers around as inspiration. As a result, they created an exhibition that can be visited by boat, the “Street River”. The goal was to bring the life and culture of “riberinhos” (people living around and from the river) into focus. These communities still conserve a lot from the native knowledge, living in harmony with nature, which should be conserved.
Hopefully, it will be a start, and the local population receives the support it needs to keep their lifestyle and heritage, instead of abandoning their home and migrating to the city for “better life”.
Picture by Sebá Tapajós.
Her focus is on how personal decisions and behaviours can make a difference. Ildiko is constantly looking for ways to live a more eco-friendly life in our current consumerist society. She is a yoga fan, vegetarian, DIY enthusiast and the mother of a devil-puppy.