Dique do Tororó – Salvador’s fowl-free Serpentine


 Postcard of the Dique do Toróro at the turn of the century

Link to photos of the Dique when there were geese (scroll down)

I love to drive by the Dique do Tororó – an artificial lagoon encrusted in the heart of Salvador, Bahia. If you look at the water and its landscaped surroundings, you will almost feel that you have found London’s Hyde Park in the tropics – at least, the Serpentine. But if you look in the other direction, you will see jumbled heaps of motley brick dwellings sprouting almost organically from the hillsides. And this is where the European concept of a manicured urban oasis cum sculpture garden misses out on the most important factor – in my mind – the swans, ducks and geese that are the main adornment of any London park, or English river, for that matter. Attempts have been made to introduce different kinds of wildfowl into the Tororó landscape, but they have all met with foul play. In other words, they ended up on someone’s dinner table. Until the problems of poverty and the attendant hunger pangs are solved in the surrounding neighbourhoods, the wings of wild geese will never shimmer over the waters of Tororó.


Aerial view of Dique do Tororó – taken before the construction of the present-day Fonte Nova Arena

FrenchMottershead’s SHOPS project

FrenchMottershead visited Bahia from January 7th to 27th to work on SHOPS, “an ongoing, international photographic project, uncovering communities formed by independent, local traders”. I worked with them as a writer/observer/cultural consultant and am currently writing an essay on that experience for the book they will publish in 2009. Here is their blog on the project so far: shopsproject.blogspot.com

10 Feb 08 – They’ve just added a “making links” blog

Yemanjá Festival on Itaparica

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a very special Yemanjá Festival in Barra Grande, on the island of Itaparica. This year, February 3rd fell during Carnival, so the festivities were significantly reduced. Even so, they were beautiful and deeply moving. Here are some of the photos I thought best captured the event (just click on the photo to see the slideshow).

Yemanjá Day on Itaparica – 03.02.08