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Francesca Maffeo Gallery is pleased to present ‘The United Soya Republic’ by Jordi Ruiz Cirera, opening on 22nd April 2017.
This exhibition presents a journey through the heartlands of the Southern Cone’s agribusiness; it is a portrayal of the changes to the landscape and socio-economic tissue brought about by intensive farming and the exportation of produce in Argentina and Paraguay.
Cirera has spent three years travelling through South America to give soy and the uncharismatic workings of agriculture a face, “along several trips I visited rural areas in those countries – leading exporters of soya, corn and beef – meeting with landowners, labourers, activists, jobless farmers and those affected by toxic pesticides put on the land, to understand and illustrate the complexities of land issues and its effects on the local communities”
The consequences of growing and farming soy is something which Cirera has sensitively recorded throughout this series, working closely with the farmers, labourers, landowners and their families Cirera has been able to see up close how the pesticides, the deforestation and migration of farmers has impacted these communities.
In one image we encounter the plight of peasants who occupy the soy fields in order to prevent fumigations, alerting with a firecracker, yet under threat from these fumigations being protected by the police. In another we are faced with the anguish of ‘Maria Lina Estorales’ explaining the circumstances of her families’ eviction alongside 21 other families, her home burned.
Yet what Cirera also encounters and reflects in these captivating images are those moments of joy and family life in amongst the hardships – the birthday celebrations in Iruna, the teenagers swimming in the river near Tava Jopoy community or a child fishing in the community of Campo Aguare.
Cirera eloquently surmises, “The situation for indigenous people is especially difficult. Caught in a cycle of lack of land ownership, migration, poverty and disease, they are dependent on assistance-based programs set up by the government. These programs encourage settlement in urban areas where there is free housing, but the result is the uprooting and disappearance of communities”
Francesca Maffeo Gallery will also present a selection from Cirera’s award winning series ‘Los Menonos’ in the Print Room Gallery
See Press Release here
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Main photo: ‘Juan Ramón, 16, takes a bath in a barrel in the streets of Asunción, where he has lived with his family for eight months. They were living in the bañado, the area surrounding the river, until recent floods resulting from El Niño as well as deforestation due to agribusiness forced them to evacuate’
Photo © Jordi Ruiz Cirera
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