Tracy Eustaquio (Corcoran College of Art and Design)
My parents immigrated to the United States in 1981. My brother and I were born the following decade Americans. Everyone else
- cousins, aunts, uncles, husbands and wives, grandma and
grandpa - still live in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brasil. A culture and life that was supposed to be mine has been split between these two very different worlds, with my heritage in Brazil losing to the weight of American life. The language barrier and culture shock grows stronger with every passing year, and I have become a tourist in my own family. We are all new people every time. Muito saudade.
These photographs were made from scanned chromogenic prints shot with Kodak Ektar 100. The blurred and diffused borders around the images were created using a filed-out negative carrier. This aesthetic helped to communicate the blurred lines of this border between worlds and distant memories of childhood.
Jussara, Juliana, and June - three sisters out of the seven children of the Vieira family. This reunion is marred by the recent death of Juliana's son, Hugo.
My uncle, Jouberto, comes home from work sometime after two a.m. to the backroom of my grandmother's house that is filled with his little blue, yellow, and green birds. Some nights he would come into the room where my brother and I slept and wake us up to drink with him. Other nights you can hear him talking to the birds until dawn.
Avó Iaia and June Vieira, Grandma Iaia and my mother, reunite after eight years. They talk on the phone every Sunday when my mom is in the United States. When they finally reuinited, Avo Iaia's Alzheimer's disease left her unable to recognize her own daughter, but she would repeatedly tell her that she misses June who shel believed to still be in the United States.
My grandmother walking the house she has lived in most of her life. She moves very slowly now, but refuses help with the stairs.
My uncle, mother, and olest cousin discussing my uncle's obsession with his birds.
Dinha; lifelong neighbor and friend of my mother; having a difficult time communicating with me; using her gestures to illustrate her words. My ability to speak Portuguese has drastically declined since the last visit to Brazil eight years ago. Most of the communication with my family has been through this frustrating game of charades.
Chris and June, my brother and mother, stand on the roof of what used to be the apartment building where my aunt Juliana and her children lived. They moved out of that house a year previous when her oldest son, Hugo, was shot and killed. They still own their apartment and visit it regularly.
My uncle's birds in the back room of my grandmother's house. He sits and talks with them all night, and he cried when one bird flew away.
A child's chair perched on top of a table at the family farm in Belo Horizonte, my favorite place in the world as a child.
If you have a house it’s surrounded by electric fencing and razor wire. You need to press a button on the landline to electronically open the gates leading up to the front door. My father couldn’t reach the button when the ambulance came, that’s how he died. His sister said she found him faced down on pictures of me and Chris. I didn’t know he had a sister.
A wooden incubator at the family chicken farm.
An over-sized self-portrait in the front courtyard of my Avó Iaia's house where many of my early childhood memories took place.