Almost Family - Click to see the full image

Quase da família, 2016. Intervenção digital sobre 18 fotografias, impressão sobre papel fotográfico, água sanitária. Medidas totais variáveis.

press to zoom

Quase da família, 2016. Intervenção digital sobre 18 fotografias, impressão sobre papel fotográfico, água sanitária. Medidas totais variáveis.

press to zoom

Quase da família, 2016. Intervenção digital sobre 18 fotografias, impressão sobre papel fotográfico, água sanitária. Medidas totais variáveis.

press to zoom

Quase da família, 2016. Intervenção digital sobre 18 fotografias, impressão sobre papel fotográfico, água sanitária. Medidas totais variáveis.

press to zoom
1/18

There was a time when children from wealthy families were breastfed and raised by black mothers. The wet nurses, first enslaved ladies, and after the abolition, hired for this purpose, were mostly black. 

Forced to deliver their own children to the baby hatch, because they were forbidden by law to breastfeed more than one child, these women transferred their affections to the masters' children, often taking care of them beyond the breastfeeding period. 

And although for years they dedicated all their love and attention to these children, there are few records of these ladies in photography and filming. In the existing images, they are shown elegantly dressed, with clothes borrowed from the "sinhá" or in African fashion. Are these images a rare record of who raised these children with love and dedication or an attempt to present a sugary image of Brazilian slavery? 
The nannies and "mucamas" who worked in the big house are today's nannies and domestic workers.  These ladies, who often come from other cities or states, leave their children with relatives or friends to try their luck in the big city, taking care of children and homes that are not their own, carry in themselves the mark of this historical symbolic violence.  In Brazil almost 80% of domestic workers are black. 

No expression could summarize so well the relationship between employers and nannies or domestic workers in Brazil as "Almost family". 

Being almost family is a non-place. As the actor, Lázaro Ramos said, "she in a way abandons her family and never enters the other one." 

Of these ladies are there sweet memories left or just shadows erased in time?