Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Farewell to Montekamp

Farewell to Montekamp.
Double-Plate Colour Etching, Chine-Colle,
printed on Pescia Magnani paper.
30x30cm. 2011.

Farewell to Montekamp is the next print in the "footprint" series. Montekamp (German name for Campo Monte) is a small piece of land that my parents decided to sell last year. My dad used to do some hobby ranching which my uncle mostly took care of and since my uncle passed away a few years ago and we'd sold all the cattle my dad decided not to start up again. Somehow I was very very sad to let that little piece of land go from our family, although I wasn't there often and it is unlikely I will ever live in that region again. Somehow for me Montekamp is a place full of childhood memories and connections with wildlife. I remember seeing a Nandu family with sixteen little ones, I saw the shadow of a maned wolf sneak by once, there were always tapir tracks (it is such a prehistoric-looking, big and gentle animal), peccary tracks, capybara burrows by the water, glowing cayman eyes at night when you shone the flashlight across the pond, highways of ever industrious ants cutting down the grass and so on and so on. At Christmas time, which in the southern hemisphere falls into the middle of the hottest summer with temperatures of 40+ we would go to Montekamp to gather branches, palm leaves and cacti for our nativity scene and one year we cut down a big cactus for a christmas tree (we planted it later in our garden and for many years it blossomed beautifully). The stars and the Milky Way at Montekamp are amazing at Montekamp and dad loved to point out different constellations. Every once in a while we would go to Montekamp to spend the evening with my aunt and uncle swimming in the pond and cooking a stew or roasting some lamb over the open fire and my uncle would tell scary stories of jaguars roaming around his camp when he worked the land. For some reason I decided to put the jaguar from his stories into the sky, perhaps because it is only a creature of stories for me, perhaps because my uncle doesn't live anymore and perhaps also a little bit because of the jaguar image I have in my mind after reading El Rio by Wade Davis.

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