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The writer Mia Couto wrote about my exhibit 'Nas Margens do Índico':

Garimpeiras do Mar

 

O mar é o não haver a outra margem. Somos nós que a inventamos, além do horizonte. José Paula criou uma margem do lado de cá, uma berma que não vislumbrávamos, mas que sempre esteve dentro de nós. Essa margem é feita de gente. São pessoas comuns a quem ele confere um rosto, um corpo, uma história. São mulheres e crianças que penteiam as ondas, que coletam mariscos como se de lavoura se tratasse. A pesca está reservada aos homens, lá no onde das ondas.

 

O destino das mães e esposas é ficar, mas elas não moram na espera. Peixe que vier na rede vai ser trocado por dinheiro e ao dinheiro quem dá destino são os homens. Por isso, para que a família não definhe nos magros restos, estas mulheres peneiram as praias como garimpeiros. O que catarem da maré vaza irá encher a panela de cada dia. Poucos sabem mas para as famílias de pescadores do litoral o alimento que estas mulheres retiram das praias é tão ou mais importante que o pescado que trazem os barcos. Esse esforço de milhares de braços é invisível, tão oculto como as vidas que se esbatem na neblina.

 

Durante anos José Paula percorreu as zonas litorais de Moçambique. Poucos moçambicanos conhecerão a costa de Moçambique como este português que se apaixonou pelo nosso país. À sua bagagem de biólogo juntou o olhar de fotógrafo. O resultado são imagens como se fossem páginas de um diário feito de maresia e de humanas vozes que se liquefazem no quebra-mar.

 

Muitos estiveram no litoral de Moçambique. E tudo o que viram foram praias. Mas existe, para além desse cenário imediato, um universo de suor e sal, campos de lavra em que milhares de mulheres se debruçam para coletarem sobrevivências. Essa história épica é, de forma sublime, recriada nas imagens desta exposição.

Prospertors of the Seashore

 

The sea is never seeing the other margin. It’s us that have to invent it, beyond the horizon. José Paula created a margin in our side, one we couldn’t catch a glimpse, despite always present within us. That margin is made of people. They are common people to whom he confers a face, a body, a story. Women and children that comb the waves, that collect shellfish as they were farming the fields. Fishing is restricted to men, in the whereabouts of waves.

 

The fate of wives and mothers is to stay, but they do not remain staying. Fish that comes in the fishing net will be traded by money and men decide money’s fate. Therefore, so that the family does not fade in the lean remains, these women sift the beaches as prospectors. Everything they gather during low tide will fill every day’s pan. Few people know, but what these women get from the seashore is a food resource at least as important for these fishermen families as the fish brought by the boats. This thousand arms effort is invisible, as hidden as the lives that fade into the mist.

 

For years José Paula travelled along the coastal areas of Mozambique. Few Mozambicans know the coast of Mozambique as this Portuguese who fell in love with our country. He added his photographer's look to his biological luggage. The result is images that look like pages of a diary made of sea breeze and human voices that liquefy on the break of waves.

 

Many visit the seashore of Mozambique. And everything they see is beaches. But beyond such immediate scenery there is a universe of sweat and salt, meadows to plough, where thousands of women lean down to collect subsistences. This epic story is, in a sublime way, recreated in the images shown at this exhibition.

ACERT 2014

Place: ACERT (Associação Cultural e Recreativa de Tondela), Tondela, Portugal

Theme: Caramulo (Caramulo Montains)

 

Panels of 1m x 1m with single photographs and collages, derived from the expeditions to the Caramulo mountains by the Grupo do Risco in 2013

Galeria de Arte de Almada 2014

Place: Art Gallery of Almada Municipality, Almada, Portugal

Theme: Trabalho de Mulher e Criança (Work of Women and Children)

 

Colour and B&W photographs of work by fishing women and children of Eastern African Coast, taken from 1994 to 2014.

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FCUL 2013

Place: Faculty of Sciences of University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Theme: Nas Margens do Índico (On the Indian Ocean Shores)

 

Black & White photographs of landscapes and work by fishing women and children of Eastern African Coast, taken from 1994 to 2011.

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IICT 2012

Place: Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical, Lisbon, Portugal

Theme: Nas Margens do Índico (On the Indian Ocean Shores)

 

Black & White photographs of landscapes and work by fishing women and children of Eastern African Coast, taken from 1994 to 2011.

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Centro Camões Maputo 2012

Place: Art Gallery of Centro Camões in Maputo, Mozambique - Portuguese Embassy

Theme: Nas Margens do Índico (On the Indian Ocean Shores)

 

Black & White photographs of landscapes and work by fishing women and children of Eastern African Coast, taken from 1994 to 2011.

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