Dismantling Grace by jean pronovost
This painting reflects wonderous journeys the artist took in 2022 and 2023, where he immersed himself inthe natural grace of the Amazon rainforest,the warmth of the people, and all the beautiful experiences Brazil had to offer. Several expeditions took him to breathtaking, distant, difficult-to-access regions of the Brazilian jungle. Caipiru, an indigenous guide well-versed in the traditions of his people,facilitated access to the region which allowed the artistto stay in several small villages east of Manaus near the Mutuca River, south of Lake Acayatuba, and in a small village of the Hunikui (kaxinawa) ethnic group, an isolated tribe, living according to a purely ancestral way of life. He met endearing, warm people who liked to share their way of life, their beliefs, legends and rituals, thus helping the artist to better penetrate the spirit of these places.
He was awestruck by the incredible marvels comprising the lush jungle landscape and how its soil wasabundantly full of precious resources, like metal and stone. Of course, mining companies from across the worldtoo have taken notice of the Amazon’s natural abundance, and with their industrial machineshave transgressed Indigenous lands and rights to devastate, burn, poison, and plunder. The excavation of this magnificent ecosystem has resulted in irreversibledamage – vegetation will not regrow, animals will not return, the water is toxic with mercury, and many Indigenous tribes are dying.
This landscape painting depicts in muted grey and brown tones the modern barbarism the artist witnessed in some areas of the Amazon. Places wherehumanity’s pricking black thumb plucks away nature’s lush green touch until all that grows arethe rotten fruits of greed and tyranny. Caustic smoke is ever-present here, it replaces the sweet aromas of flora and fauna. There is not a bird or cricket song to be heard.
To the right there is the monstrous mining machine, a harbinger of death and mayhem. Ironically, Indigenous people have referred to white men as ‘earth eaters’, and this machine does exactly that! This behemoth hollows out the slaughtered forest floor, excavating auric treasuresto feed markets of speculation and the pockets of bloated men. What does it actually mean to be rich? And who is the poorer for all of this?The unstoppable road to progress forges ahead to new horizons of extinction and inequality – no one is left behind!
Dismantling Grace was inspired not only by the intense indignation the artist felt at seeing majestic nature defiled, devalued and decimated, but also the perseverance and passionate fight of the Brazilian people to ensure the Amazon’s survival and regeneration that he witnessed.