THASSIANNIRA

Brazilian multidisciplinary
artist based in Zurich, Switzerland.


About
thassiannira@outlook.com

︎
PROJECTS

Goldgarimpo

WHAT’S UP?

Exhibition
3.05 –26.06
“Terra, Corpo” 
@ Galeria de Arte da UFAM, Manaus Brasil



«Serra Pelada» ,1985,
Serra Pelada: the story of the world's largest open-pit mining operation in the 70s and 90s
Documented by Robert Nickelsberg



Unrolling the canvas in front of the «Serra Pelada», Pará, Brazil, 2022

«The project began with this image, which I enlarged from a photograph in my studio in Zurich. In 2022, I embarked on my first research trip to «Serra Pelada» the location where my father worked as a gold miner. 


Camp from Uncle Valdeçi. Picture sent via WhatsApp in 2021.
Location unknown, possibly near Roraima.


«I often wonder if I am on the wrong side of the story. My work raises the question of the dignity of gold miners, a precarious group of people who just haven’t made it in the modern society. Through my paintings, I tell stories of mothers who haven’t seen their sons in 20 years, who are holed up in the rainforest, and of women who cook for the gold miners to earn a fair wage, something they could never get in the civilized cities due to their lack of education. These are also stories about those who have lost either a father or a husband too soon. While I support the measures of the new Brazilian government under Lula to put an end to illegal gold mining on indigenous territory, I also wonder if there are alternatives to reintegrating these people into society rather than just setting fire to their camps.»

Family Album, Goldminer's in the Serra Pelada with nuggets, 1989




The pursuit of wealth through gold mining has been a pervasive theme in her family, with all the men, including her father and uncles, having been or still involved in artisenal gold mining. She has observed firsthand the never-ending struggle for survival in the shadow of this precious yellow metal.


The entanglement of Thassiannira’s project «Red dusky latosol», which is rooted in her dual experience of living in Switzerland, the country that refines over 70% of the world’s gold, and her origins in Brazil, has led her not only to focus on individuals lifestories but also to examine a global perspective on this conflict zone.

«I'm hardly back in Zurich when I can't believe my eyes when I see this golden cube near Paradeplatz in Zurich, which is monitored by security. people are lining up and desperately want to touch the cube and take a selfie with it. The cube was made in Europe's oldest art foundry in Aarau from 24-carat 999.9 fine gold and weighs 186 kilos. The material value alone is 12 million Swiss francs. The whole setting was simply too absurd, where it is not even critically explained in the description where this gold comes from. When I asked about the origin of the gold, I was assured that it was 100% fair trade gold. Gold mining is always linked to exploitation - if it is not the people, it is the environment.

So it was clear that I had to do a little interventation. The artist Nicolas Castello didn't listen at all that I was dealing with illegal gold mining in the Amazon, instead he was immediately willing to pose next to my picture.»


Golden cube worth $11.7 Million on the streets of Zurich, 2022

Gold Miner from Serra Pelada with the Canvas «My father a Gold digger», 2022



Visited gold miner camp near Curionópolis, Brazil during the first research trip in August 2022. The camp was previously used for gold mining in the 80s but now they are searching for copper.

A3 Mascate, Oil on paper, 2021

A3 Gizelda, Oil on paper, 2021




«The man in the yellow shirt is my father. He was a gold miner during the brazilian gold rush in the 1980s. I do not remember my father as he passed away early in my life. This memory gap led me to create and weave my own memories by searching his traces. During my fifirst research trip to Brazil in August 2022, I searched for the places where he had been, interviewed people who knew him, and visited the mines that were still active during his time. I carried my painting with me everywhere, and unrolling the canvas became a distinct ethnographic method to engage people in conversation or simply serve as a photo backdrop for people who wanted to take pictures in front of it.»