16 January 2008

João Pina - Homage

“In a way, this is my homage to the ones who still fight for what they believe in, not really caring if they have a high price to pay for saying what they think.” ~ João Pina

João Pina is a 27 year old Portuguese-born photographer. He has an exhibition opening in NYC tomorrow at Point of View Gallery. The show, entitled “Por teu livre pensamento”/"For Your Free Thinking" consists of portraits of 25 men and women who were political prisoners in Portugal during the nearly half century (1926-1974) it was ruled by dictatorship. Two of Pina's grandparents were among those imprisoned by the regime. In that respect his work brings to mind the contributors to the recent Los Desaparecidos [1] [2] exhibition. Many of those artists lost friends and relatives who were 'disappeared' as part of programs of state terrorism. His work also reminds me of these matched mug shots and portraits that Eric Ethridge has produced of veterans of the 'Freedom Rides' in the U.S.. I think it is remarkable for Pina and his partner, writer Rui Daniel Galiza, to have undertaken this "homage." They highlight yet another use for photography - not just to record or document, but to honor the struggles and suffering of those who were treated as criminals by a criminal regime.



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