SUR is a documentary in progress (seeking funds!) about a Mapuche family reclaiming the right to live on their ancestral land in Patagonia.

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The project

The facts

 

In Argentinian Patagonia, a group of native Mapuche families, namely the one formed by Atílio Curiñanco, Rosa Nahuelquir and Franco Curiñanco, are resisting and peacefully battling against the italian Benetton Group, for the right to live in their ancestral land, where they were born and which belongs to them by oral tradition.

The extension of the lands acquired by Benetton in the 90’s - from a then near-bankrupt Argentinian government in search of fresh capital -, is estimated to be approximately 900.000 hectares, nearly the size of a country like Cyprus.

The land reclaimed by the Mapuche families is around 500 ha.

The Benetton Group can provide legal documents attesting ownership of the land.

The Mapuche families claim that the right to live there belongs to them by traditional, oral, pre-colonial law. In addition, they claim that the sale of such a vast amount of previously public land to one single private entity by the government should have been considered unacceptable.

Each part conducts a legal battle for the recognition of what they consider their full rights, although economic, communicative and legal forces are overwhelmingly more powerful on one side.

In hashtags it would be #landgrab #mapuche #patagonia #benetton #davidagainstgoliath

 

The story, the words

 

“A man with the purest Mapuche blood in his veins is nothing without his land, because at the moment he leaves his land, he looses his culture, and his identity. La sangre no es nada sin la tierra.”

“There is enough land here for the two of us.” *

 

I think this story deserves to be told beyond the dualism of a global legal battle, and to become the start of a much broader reflection on the vital relationship between man, nature and land, that cannot be synthetized only through possession of the land, but also with the meaning of belonging to the land, as it is so intensely exemplified by Atílio’s words.

I met Atílio, Rosa and Franco by pure coincidence (here is the story of the coincidence), during a journey to Esquel, Argentina. During the hour or so I passed with them, in which I could only take the few pictures above, I found fascinating the way they spoke about their intimate relationship with land, almost as if land was a member of the family.

Unfortunately we couldn’t spend more time together, but since the first moment we said goodbye I decided one day I would come back and try to tell their story.

 

* the words may not be exact, this is what I have memorized, retranscripted and translated after our meeting.

 

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Franco Curiñanco and Rosa Nahuelquir

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Atilio and Franco

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The Mapuche flag at the entrance of their house.

 

The facts around the legal battle have been properly accounted for already**, and should obviously not be overseen.

But I am very much interested in how this community lives the everyday relationship with land and nature, and this I will try to investigate visually, in texts and multimedia.

I feel that the resistance of this family is only the actual episode of a longer story: battle for land is battle for belonging, and ultimately there is no life without belonging.

These fundamental values have been either widely overlooked, forgotten, exploited, distorted and even despised for a number of reasons by the mainstream culture, and this is why I think this story is important.

My objective is to try to explore the vital and direct relationship that this community lives with nature, and to to tell a positive story about man, nature and land.

 

** The Benetton Group has an official position about this story (it can be found here); the italian Tv journalistic program “Report” has dedicated part of an episode (in italian) on the subject.

Why fund it?

With this crowdfunding campaign I hope to raise the funds necessary to visit and stay with the Curiñanco family enough time to make a photo and multimedia documentary about their story.

 

The money will be used to

 

- Cover costs for the project (flights, car rental, gas, board etc.)

 

- Provide some economic income for the Mapuche community. To this effect, I put a (limited) number of Mapuche decorative objects hand-made by Rosa Nahuelquir and the family in the rewards (see FAQ below).

 

Thanks for you help!

 

Tommaso

 

UPDATE: I've already planned my flight. I'm leaving by the end of november, so I'll do this project anyway, but I'll do it better with your help!

 

#sur #crowdfunding

 

 

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Tommaso Barsali

Tommaso Barsali, documentary photographer. SUR is my new project about man and land. My previous project "Hulk's Toys", on man and his self-made toys in Italy, has been awarded the Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship in 2012. www.luciefoundation.org www.vimeo.com/tommasobarsali/hulkstoys www.tommasobarsali.com/work

FAQ Questions about the project

+ What about the Mapuche hand made objects? Why in limited number?

I have talked with Franco on the phone, they are quite happy with the idea, and on my side I think it's a fair way to finance both my project and the community.

These are the facts: I will know the exact availability of the Mapuche artifacts made by Rosa Nahuelquir and her family only when actually there.

Since they are all hand-made, so subject to work and time availability, I had to keep the (I hope!) realistic maximum number of 49+ pieces (30+10+9+?). To put it simply, there could be fewer available, and I cannot exactly determine how many right now.

I'll do my best, but in the very happy case that a large number of these items is requested, if for one reason or another I cannot bring back the exact number requested, please be patient :) I promise we'll find a solution, in chronological order of donation, for example another large dimension print.

+ What if donations exceed the campaign goal?

Let's hope! :)

This is what I thought:

- Keep a part of the exceeding sum for the future of the project (e.g. post-production, an exhibit or a publication) or for unexpected contingencies.

- Give a part to the Mapuche community, if it's acceptable for them

+ What if the campaign goal is not met?

You'll be 100% refunded automatically by Kisskissbankbank (see their FAQs http://www.kisskissbankbank.com/fr/pages/faq/basics)

Newest comments

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caro Tommaso, sono felice come tutti di contribuire come tanti altri amici a un progetto che è prima di tutto un'idea molto nobile di lavoro. Buon viaggio, un abbraccio. Salvatore Chiara e Federico.
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Un abbraccio forte! Matteo e Lucy
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in bocca al lupo.... vito giusi e cecilia