LAÍZA FERREIRA

Born in Ananindeua (PA), lives in Natal (RN), 1988

Untitled, Collage, 2017

Laíza was born in Pará and currently resides in Natal, where she studies Visual Arts at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). Her work is based on the search for ancestral memories, recreating worlds through the reframing of fragments. She investigates her origins through photography and collage, instigating and reconnecting imagery to redefine pain. Her works often arise from clippings from magazines and books and autobiographical elements, such as family portraits. More recently, she has explored photographic and development techniques, analog and natural experiments, such as phytotype and antotype.

interview by Igor Furtado, published on 29/10/2020

Untitled, Collage, 2018

Untitled, Collage, 2018

Can you tell us a little about your childhood and how your interest in collage and photography came about?

Since I was a child, I had a very strong relationship with images. I liked to draw on land, on paper and spent hours imagining narratives. My mother worked all day and I used to stay with my grandmother. I lay in the hammock with her and listened to the stories she told me about her life in Jambuaçú in Moju. Photography has always been present as a way of recording between family and friends. Years later, I had the opportunity to participate in some introductory photography workshops that instigated me to experiment and deepen my studies. In the photographic craft processes, I was able to observe the dialogue with the collage and photomontage within the photographic system itself, in moments of enlarging the photo in the composition of the elements, double exposures and various means of composing the image. Collage is a language that enchants me because it makes me perceive the breadth of possibilities, such as what can be understood as work materials and the combination of these materials using different semantic fields. For me, the interaction with the collage took place in a political context of rupture and self-criticism in my daily life.

How did moving from North to Northeast and entering college affect you?

It was an arduous process, as I faced many financial and emotional difficulties, but I needed this geographical shift, to multiply individual and collective perceptions. It was a trail of urgency, of meetings necessary for my being. My practice in the academic space is undisciplined. The force field is in the connections with ours, in not being limited to institutional walls and not falling into colonial traps. It makes a huge difference to build a spiral of enchanted beings. They strengthen us at the crossroads.

Selváticas, Collage, 2017

Introspection and the silence of the waters, Collage, 2018

What interests you in promoting this encounter and reconfiguration of fragments that are often forgotten?

I'm interested in the possibility of imagining and creating. The resignification of images and the reinvention of universes in an expanded field, the forms being deconstructed in new contexts and poetics. Imagination is an escape route in my broken processes, an individual and collective path that instigates me to reexist. In these narratives are inserted my ancestry and ways of healing, the words and smells of my land, the travels beyond the boundaries that are imposed on us.

How does your research and selection of images happen, and then the visual decision of how to crop and overlap?

First I develop a search for texts and images that affect me. I use images from magazines, books, images that I find on the streets, family archives and photographs of my own. Then, I start experimenting with these images. It is a very fluid process that combines intuition and investigation. Before finishing the collage, I always try to reconfigure these images more. I make a lot of mistakes and I find myself in those mistakes. I incorporate transformations in these processes, since they never follow the same path. Sometimes when I have some blocks, I start the experiments so that they guide me in building ideas, so that I can mature a new series.

Untitled, Collage, 2018

Untitled, Collage, 2018

How do you deal with the difficulty of verifying the origin of an image, having a job that seeks to reconstruct and preserve memories?

Most of the time I try to check the source of the images I use, but I also end up using the ones I can't identify where they came from. In general, I think of a form of appropriation in which I can reframe images that in many cases are presented under the colonial eye. I move these images out of a stereotyped scenario and reinvent possibilities to interweave our memories in cosmic and ancestral layers that strengthen our imaginary.

In many of your images, the physiognomy cannot be identified. For you is the recognition of ancestry beyond representation?

The fragments of these images evoke a driving force that breaks through colonial ties. Crossings that make multiple realities possible. Images that inhabit the skin, the body, nature. To think of ancestry from these fragments is to expand my perceptions around our identities. Recognizing affection with those who preceded it is a device for coping with the traumas of colonization with technologies that open paths for us. About the faces, I like to think of ways in which they blend with elements of nature, producing deconstructions that take us to other times and places. Absence is a field that flows into constant reframing of memories and my own relationship with found or photographed images.

Untitled, Collage, 2018

Odoyá, Collage, 2018

Phytotype, 2020

Can you explain a little more about phytotype and antotype? In what other ways does nature and time assist and mobilize you in the processes?

They are experimental photographic techniques that I produce from organic pigments in images revealed by sun exposure. In the antotype, alcohol and plants are used, and it is not necessary to use a dark room. I print the images in positive black and white on the transparency/acetate, where they are superimposed on the heavier paper, pressed between two glass plates, dyed with the solution of these natural pigments and exposed. In phytotype, the process is similar, but it differs in the development platform, which in this case are leaves and the main pigment is chlorophyll. I tried several times until I got a result. On sunny days in Natal, rain is present on some afternoons. The images are ephemeral, as the light causes the images to fade and disappear over time. Working with leaves and flowers has taught me a lot about decolonizing our minds from this linear time. Slow down and count on life's unpredictability. Nature guides me in understanding memory, self and collective affection. These are winds that direct me to other horizons, that blow and send me into the seas, into the rivers. I carry this knowledge in a hot humid body that, like others, emerges from the sum of time/space subjectivities, pulsating possibilities and energies that incorporate and feed us.

How do you see the condition of your production and how has it changed over the years? Where do you expect your images to go in the future?

I crossed tearing paths, producing for many years under the bias of precariousness. I never imagined that my work would cross so many people. It is a lull in the chest that warms up turbulent days. Today, many paths have opened up and impelled me to experiment more and more, flourish and create multiple ways to reinvent. I hope to expand these crossings in images to different places. Get to know Jambuaçú, the land of my late grandmother. Build with mine and share our strength and affection. Return to the Amazon rivers and weave dreams, connections and encounters, a new past and future. I want to lose myself again in the vastness of the roots with my ancestors.

Ancestral Memory Series, 2018

Invisible Flowers, Collage, 2017