An Exhibit of Saint Lucia RPCV David Whitman's photographs of Brazil opens in Key Biscayne September 9
Six years ago Miami photographer David Whitman visited Ilha de Maré, an island in northeastern Brazil. His friend Jorge Antonio Espirito Santo Batista, a teacher there, had promised Whitman a glimpse of a Brazil that was disappearing—an island without cars, where you arrive by boat and wade through the surf to the shore, a place still dependent on the sea and the legendary tides that give the island its name. As they wandered along streets made of crushed shells and earth, Whitman noticed two barefooted boys playing marbles. “From where I stood, they happened to form a yin-yang shape,” Whitman recounts, “and I quietly reached for my camera, hoping I could record the moment before they shifted positions.” He did, and the young marble players—Jefinho and Darlei—famously landed on the cover of the International Calendar of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in 2005. Jefinho and Darlei inspired the calendar’s theme that year: Harmony in Play. “The two boys playing marbles convey the age-old concept of Yin and Yang—opposites that fit together perfectly to make a whole—a reminder that harmony does not come from being the same. It comes from embracing differences and discovering how we complement and balance each other, thereby making the world a richer place.” Whitman’s photo—and the story behind it—were featured at the time on Progreso Weekly and Progreso Semanal, and also caught the attention of Alhemar Altieri, the publisher of InfoBrazil, a site that offers independent analysis and opinion on Brazilian current affairs. “With most Brazilians absorbed by the annual Carnival celebrations, we at InfoBrazil decided to break away from the usual political, business and economic content, and asked David Whitman, an accomplished photographer, to reflect on his time spent in Brazil.”
Last November, Whitman returned to Ilha de Maré during a four-week photographic journey through Brazil. As he was walking along the same road where he’d encountered Jefinho and Darlei six years earlier, he passed two boys—about the same age as the marble players had been—seated at a cement table. He gave them each a keyring from Miami, and asked if he could take their picture, the first shot of the day. That photo, “Best Friends,” is now the announcement for an upcoming exhibit of Whitman’s work, in Miami, called “Luminous Youth.” Reviewing an exhibit of Whitman’s work in Berkeley, California, Stephanie Hornbeck, now a conservator at the National Museum of African Art, wrote, “Whitman’s photographs evoke a gentle world. Beneath leafy trees in sunny, seemingly carefree settings by the sea, warm smiles and bright eyes engage the viewer directly. He focuses on the inner warmth and outer beauty of his young subjects, separating them from their often sad circumstances.” “Luminous Youth” runs from September 9 to November 2 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center in Crandon Park, Key Biscayne. The opening reception is on Sunday, September 9, from 3 to 6 pm, with Brazilian music performed by Rose Max and Ramatis. Read more.
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