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Imagen del ensayo fotográfico 'Lotes - Covid-19'. Photo: Gabriela Delcin Pires.
Image of the photo essay Lots - Covid-19. Photo: Gabriela Delcin Pires.

To understand what it's like to die from COVID-19 in Brazil, words are unnecessary

Packaged and bar coded deceased. Photographer Gabriela Delcin Pires' has harsh criticism for Jair Bolsonaro's campaign of death during the pandemic.

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"When life is treated as a commodity, names become numbers, motives are lost, life becomes data, it becomes statistics," said Gabriela Delcin, whose latest project portrays the deaths of Brazilian citizens during the pandemic in the photo essay Lots - Covid-19.

The project features raw snapshots of people  wrapped in plastic and labeled with bar codes as if they were on display on a supermarket shelf. The image descriptions include the reasons for the death: "Doctor," "the economy could not stop"... Or the place where the victims contracted the disease: "At work," "at their mother's birthday party."

"Art for me is a way of dealing with what I can't deal with. During this crisis of COVID-19, the idea of this essay arose as a criticism of the way the pandemic has been treated in Brazil, and also as a way to show through art the seriousness of the problem for the people", explained the photographer.

For the artist there are two deaths, the natural one, which always accompanies us as a consequence of life, and the "death of humanity." 

Humanity, she assures, "transforms us into humans, makes us feel and act in communion."

The artist and designer based in São Paulo organized a virtual exhibition of the harsh essay last May to raise awareness about the seriousness of the pandemic, although the original idea has accompanied her for a year now, when she conducted research on human rights.

The people in the photographs are not really dead, but family members, she says, with whom she spent her quarantine. 

Brazil is one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, and on Wednesday, Aug. 5, recorded more than 1,400 deaths from the virus, the highest figure in the last month. The toll brought the country's total number of deaths to 97,256.

Meanwhile, the country's president, Jair Bolsonaro, continues to take steps not to protect its citizens but the economy, with loud announcements such as last Tuesday's veto of a project to deliver about $900 in aid to health workers that have been disabled by the coronavirus. 

Bolsonaro seems to show again that the way you live is directly proportional to how you die, or rather, that those who have more can live as they wish while others have no choice. Both the president and some of his ministers are already among those infected with the coronavirus, but they refuse to take measures that would make the population safe, while the country faces serious conflicts with the international community and maintains a "confrontational presidentialism" that, together with the epidemic, will lead the nation to a serious social crisis, according to experts such as Renata Albuquerque, a doctor in political science from the University of Rio de Janeiro. 
 

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