From food to energy. A journey in the Amazon

photography exhibition of Pino Ninfa

“From food to energy. A journey in the Amazon” is the new photography project of Pino Ninfa, exhibited at Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche of Treviso, from 5th December 2015 to 10th January 2016.

Organised with the European Union’s support and in cooperation with Cesvi, a non-governmental organisation committed to projects fighting poverty and for sustainable development worldwide, and with the support of Enel Green Power and the patronage of the city of Treviso, the exhibition consists of eighty photographs taken between 2012 and 2014 in the Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon basin of Madre de Dios, an area considered fundamental for the future of the planet.

The themes of the preservation of the Amazon forest and environmental sustainability, seen through the eyes of native populations of the provinces of Tambopata (Puerto Maldonado) and Manu (Salvaciòn), are the common thread of the exhibition, which uses the evocative power of the images to urge civil society to reflect on the delicate balance between nature and human actions. Pino Ninfa’s vision is both documentary and artistic, combining a deep inquiry into environmental topics with an overall vision aimed at seizing lines and shapes of beauty, portraying nature as works of sculpture.

Engaged for years in photography research projects in developing populations and areas (from the Mediterranean to Equatorial Africa), since 2011 the author has been involved in a documentation project with Cesvi dedicated to protecting the Amazon forest and the development of alternative energies through its products. A symbol of this work is the Amazon nut (also called Brazil chestnut or Brazil nut), a nut that only grows in certain areas of Brazil, Bolivia and Peru: a resource for the people who process it and sacred food, born from the defence and respect for the land, and often the only tree that withstands deforestation fires. Picking Amazon nuts has allowed local populations to use the land and international agriculture-forestation projects have been started for virtuous farming, where perennials are integrated into plantations of fruit trees and trees providing wood for industrial uses. Its shell is also used as fuel to produce electricity and a number of power plants have been built to support the cities (such as the Cobija power plant in Bolivia).

Through Pino Ninfa’s lens, forestry products are transformed from symbols of a local and sustainable economy into endless forms of art. Fallen leaves of banana and other trees look like open air sculptures, amazing abstract forms.

The author, who has always cooperated with leading musicians on original photography and multimedia projects, also offers a blend of different arts for this exhibition. At the inauguration — scheduled for Saturday, 5th December at 6 pm — the never-before-seen photographs will engage in a dialogue with the music of the original performance of Nicole Johänntgen (saxophones) and Ellen Effenberg (vibraphone).

The exhibition also lends itself to educational tours for schools, with a special focus on environmental sustainability.