Familiarity in strangeness

Brazil and Africa are so close in so many aspects that I am constantly tempted to say: Brazil is Africa.

Ever since my curiosity about our ancestors and their legacy to Brazilian culture was sparkled by music, I’ve been restlessly searching for a truer face of the continent. Unfortunately, it seems that most information about Africa is second-hand, that is, written by other people with their foreign mindsets. It seems that cliché is also just around the corner in most reports about Africa.

Luckily though, there are people like Pieter Hugo. A talented and politically aware photographer from South Africa, he has over the years produced startling images of the African people in the most diverse and intriguing situations.

The Hyena & Other Men series

Although acquiring great fame and recognition for his series of works entitled Nollywood (which depict s actors and ordinary people connected to Nigeria’s film industry), his work with the hyena tamers is to me the most impressive.

What I like most about his work is his ability to capture a glimpse of what the human soul and its secrets are supposed to be even in the strangest sets and situations.

What is then the connection of Pieter Hugo’s work to Brazil? Absurdity. The absurd things and and the absurdness of life bring the two places together in a very special way. It is when one feels familiarity in strangeness that one can really see a close link between nations and continents.


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