Orishas Gallery

Salvador de Bahia, Brazil 2011

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® Birgit Vagani



My love for the Brazilian Earth and its people is growing the more time I spend here and the more I’m starting to feel at home. The streets of Bahia provide a colorful backdrop for our unexpected encounters. Going back to the same places, feels like meeting old friends, reviving memories and emotions and re-living them under a new light. With economic progress comes change and living conditions are improving. Hope never dies. The light is less romantic and more honest; the beauty in people’s smile lives on. I felt it was a very special group to spend the workshop with. I want to thank Ernesto for leading the way and continuously inspiring us, my fellow companions, Elena, whom I met for the first time and Paola and Kerim, whom I met before, for sharing the enthusiasm and all the people from Bahia for sharing moments of their life with us. It was wonderful to continue to build this type of relationship! Birgit Vagani




® Elena Lusenti


Another great workshop filled with so many magic moments. Many of them were actually too “big” for my viewfinder… Cachoeira and the surrounding villages were such a great surprise.  This area is a little gem. Brazil’s African roots and traditions are still so strong and feel so alive here. Waking up to the click clock of a horse’s hooves on the stone pavements and to the chants from the neighboring church made me sometimes forget where I was, which year it was.  The ten days flew by.  Every day was very special, and every person special, in the unique Bahian way… It always touches me so much when, as it often happens in a little Bahian village, someone to whom I am a complete stranger let me walk into their house and welcomes me as if I were a long, lost friend, and when it’s time to part says “Volte Sempre” (Come back always).  And I do…  See you soon Ernesto. Elena Lusenti




® Kerim Ertug


After the December workshop in Salvador with Ernesto, I felt an urge to come back to continue this magical trip I have started in Bahia.  Returning back to Salvador was the right decision for me.  Combination of visiting the families I have met in December and discovering new ones on the country side resulted in many magical moments full of emotions.  During our time on the country side spontaneous turns from the highway led to great discoveries, we experienced the Afro-Brazilian side of Bahia at its purest form… I will never forget the day when we ran into magical scenes one after another. Thank you Ernesto for another great workshop!  And thank you to Elena, Birgit and Paola for the great company!! Kerim Ertug 




® Paola Nalvarte


What it means having the opportunity of going back to the same place over and over again and take pictures, could not have been more clear to me after this trip. That is something Ernesto always remarks in his teaching. I found myself again in the chocolate factory, a place that always overwhelmed me. But there I was, watching things I haven’t seen before, being able of sharing time with the kids, having the beautiful blue sea surrounding us through the ruined walls the place has, without fear this time. I enjoyed the rural sight of Cachoeira very much, watching this natural and earthy life they have. The afternoon I loved the most was a rainy one, when all of us had to sheltered in the house of “mamá grande”, a very courageous old woman who lives with her big family in her small little house. “My house might be small but we all fit in it”, she said. When the rain stopped we gratefully said goodbye, and felt moved after seeing the great dignity with which they face life. An unforgettable and beautiful experience. I thank Ernesto for making it all possible. Paola Nalvarte


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