Salvador receives show and cycle of debates about the impact of mining

Exhibition discusses the Brazilian mining model in terms of the disaster in Mariana and the damage caused by mining in Bahia.

Using art to stimulate debate about the Brazilian mining model, the exhibition From the River which Was Sweet to the Waters of the Semi-arid Region: the damage done by mining to the people of the caatinga and the Bahia cerrado regions, was shown at the Federal University of Bahia (Universidade Federal da Bahia: UFBA) in Salvador, between 17 and 20 October.

The show was created months after the Fundão dam broke, in November 2015, leaving the region of Mariana (in Minas Gerais) covered in toxic waste.  The trail of mud reached the Atlantic Ocean and, with it, arose the need to discuss the socio-environmental threats represented by mining.  These include water and soil contamination, soil swelling, municipal overload in areas that include dams and related health problems.

The first city to host the exhibition, organized by the National Committee in Defence of Territories confronting Mining, was São Paulo.  Before arriving in Salvador, it was shown in Belém (PA), Açailândia and São Luís (MA).  The debate has therefore gained strength and breadth, and also associates the disaster in Mariana with the effects of mining in Bahia.

The exhibition includes more than 50 photos of Mariana and of mining in a number of Brazilian states, an exhibition of films, public classes, round table discussions and lectures about the Brazilian mining model. Worth noting are the 14 x 3 metre canvas of The River which Was Sweet by Argentinian artist Lelia Monségur and the models developed by Ricardo Silly and Gabriela Vergara, which reproduce, through movement and hydraulic systems, the Mariana complex before the dam broke and immediately after the disaster, demonstrating how the mud spread.  The models are highly educational and help the public understand how mining and gravity function and their impact, particularly in terms of water contamination.

In Bahia, the exhibition is co-organized by local coalitions, including the Movement for Popular Sovereignty over Mining (Movimento pela Soberania Popular na Mineração: MAM), the Pastoral Land Commission (Comissão Pastoral da Terra: CPT) and the Unified Workers’ Central (Central Única dos Trabalhadores: CUT), and received support from the Ecumenical Coordination of Service (Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço: CESE) and UFBA.

More about the National Committee in Defence of Territories confronting Mining:

A coalition of organizations, social movements, churches and researchers, which has been in operation since 2013.  It is one of the principal national initiatives organized politically in defence of those affected by mining and their territories.  It also invests in communication and training on this issue.


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