In “Cansei” (I’m tired) project black women speak out against racist cliches they hear everyday

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“My hair is like this, standing uo!! I’m tired of being labeled as strange” “I’m tired of so many things that I don’t know where to start”

Note from BW of Brazil: Racism in Brazil expresses itself in a number of ways. From the invisibility of the black population in many areas of society dominated by persons of white skin, different medical treatment, harassment by police and security in stores and malls and quality of life statistics. It is also experienced through the words and comments of everyday people in racist insults to annoying, sometimes painful comments of which people will often deny having any racist content. 

In November, the ‘Cansei’ photographic project was released allowing various black women to address how they feel about such comments that they have all personally heard at one time or another. The project is reminiscent of a similar project that took place on the University of Brasília campus some months back. Yes, regardless of how few Brazilians like to assume personal responsibility for it, racism is a regular part of the country’s existence. and black women are fed up with it!!

“I’m tired of them calling me morena. I’m negra (black)!” “I’m tired of believing that I can’t because I’m black. I can (do) everything”

“Cansei” project speaks about racist cliches heard by black women

By Silvia Nascimento

“I’m tired of them saying that my hair is bad!” “I’m tired of being called ‘moreninha‘ (little morena)”

There are photographers that are motivated by nature, love, animals and new-borns. I’m not diminishing their importance but, fortunately there are those that are motivated by something more complex, which are questions about the human condition and inequalities.

Larissa, 28, mora em São José dos Campos
Larissa Isis, 28, creator of ‘Cansei’ project

This was the spark that awakened the photographer Larissa Isis, 28, the desire to give visibility to a public that, in spite of representing the majority in Brazil, is not portrayed by the lens of good photographers: black women.

“I’m tired of being exotic” – “I’m tired of not finding black dolls!”

“I’ve gone to the US twice, the first time to make purchases, but o the last I went with a more observing look in relation to the presence of blacks on television, advertising and press, how they appear much more than here,” explains the photographer from São José dos Campos. “I wanted to come back and create these references in Brazil.”

“I’m tired of being considered exotic. What I am is marvelous” “I’m tired of there having only one base tone for my skin!”

Larissa is a nutritionist, with a post-grad in Business Administration, but family photos, with “fundos desfocados” (blurred backgrounds), awakened her interest for this type of art ad even without any academic training in the area, she has a faithful group of followers on Instagram and is currently displaying photos of her work, the project “Cansei” (I’m tired), in São José dos Campos, as part of the commemoration of the Month of Black Consciousness in Vicentinha Park Aranha until December 12th.

“We are tired of hearing your opinions about my hair and my color!!!”

Cansei Project

“I am tired”, (cansei in Portuguese), is a project by American photographers Paula Akpan and Harriet Evans with a registering of images of people that wrote on their bodies some type of fatigue in relation to some recurring situation that annoys them.

“Empowerment for black women! I’m tired of not being recognized” “I’m tired of assaulting my hair”

“It came to my mind that I was also tired of some things and that I could touch on this subject here in Brazil.” And that’s what she did, selecting a group of black women of various ages that wrote on a board, phrases and situations that they are tired of experiencing or hearing.

“I chose to do it with only women because within a scale of priorities the black woman is the last. In no moment did I request that they invent the phrases, they are true, they are what they feel,” explains Larissa.

“I’m tired of hearing the question: Do you wash your hair?” “I’m tired of being exotic

Larissa’s militancy is recent. “I thought that it was no use wanting to change, that it nothing would ever come out of it and some people with this profile came up to me to speak of the project. Some blacks and whites, they think that it’s an exaggeration.”

“I’m tired assaulting my hair.” This was in my opinion as a photographer the strongest photo of the project. “I thought that those photoed said what they didn’t like to hear, but in this case came empathy because I am also going through this moment of hair transition.”

“I’m tired of hearing my hair is strange and/or different”

The positive feedback makes Larissa feel that her project is fulfilling its role in the sense of empowering the women. “I see by the feedback of the women that follow me on Instagram. We are not accustomed to seeing ourselves, we don’t have references and that’s what I try to do with my work,” concluded the photographer that is exposing her work in São José dos Campos.

More about the “Cansei” project and other works of Larissa on the photographer’s official website.

Larissa’s inspirations

Rog and Bee Walker who photographed the wedding of Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s sister, Andre L. Perry, Fer Cesar and Gordon Parks. “Parks has already passed on but his photos portray racial segregation in the US very well.”

Source: Mundo Negro

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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