AMA-SAN (limited edition of 300 copies)
Precisely when this method of fishing began is not possible to determine, but there are descriptions of the women swimming underwater in the Sei Shonagons The Pillow Book (XI century) and in the Manyoshu anthology of poems (XVIII century). The main purpose\nof this trade was always to collect abalones, a delicacy highly prized throughout the history of Japan, especially by the courts of the Great Emperors.\nThe Ama-San have always lived independent lives within their community and create among them strong bonds of sisterhood. Being the familys principle source of income, and thus of great value, these women occupy a prominent position and are highly respected. The Ama-San have earned their status as collectors and guardians. What they do, calls into question not only the traditional role of women in oriental society, but also the very nature of femininity itself.\nIn the entire history of women in the world, it is the Ama who somehow managed to\nfollow a unique and liberating path, and they did so without conflict and without\napparent harm. And that achievement, which it would be no exaggeration to describe as heroic, was made possible thanks to centuries of working as a community. Sadly, today, it is on the verge of extinction. On the whole, the women who still dive today are between 50 and 85 years old.\nThese photographs are the by-product of two trips to Japan to plan and direct a film with a group of Ama from the Ise-Shima Peninsula. The faces and locations are documented \nas personal notes. It is a cinematographic study, in spite of its ethnographic value. This sequence of images portrays the Ama-San from the fishing villages of Wagu, Ijika, Oosatsu and Toushijima.\nArtist book of 300 numbered copies. Binding in Cho Gosguin, with 50 different covers of Japanese paper. This harmonium book, done almost exclusively by hand, includes 39 photographs of the project Ama-San by Cláudia Varejão.
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