The Portuguese word “Saudade” refers to that bittersweet feeling of longing, melancholy, desire, and nostalgia for a beloved yet absent person or place.

I spent my adolescent years in Brazil, mostly in remote parts of Minas Gérais and Goiás. Although I moved to Rio as soon as I finished my studies in Europe, it was those formative preteen and teenage years, surrounded by forests, rivers and cattle ranches, that had the most profound effect on me. The moment I arrived, I felt an instant connection to the land, to the fauna and flora and to the people.

Despite the fact that I lived in Brazil during the brutal military dictatorship, my memories have mostly been idealised. They are usually nurturing, comforting and inspiring, in spite of the feeling of violence that permeated much of the country at that time.

Working on this project has been a cathartic process. It has helped me reconcile my loss of this beloved place as well as the sense of loss, that occurred the moment I left, of part of my identity. The project has helped me come to terms with the fact that part of my brain will forever be filled with a language I still dream in but hardly ever have the opportunity to speak. This project is a way for me to communicate my love for this country.

Over the past few years, whenever a scene or moment reminded me of my life in those places in the 70s and 80s, I photographed it. Together these images, made in various other countries, have become a visual expression of my saudade of Brazil.

work in progress