One with Pachamama

An artistic voyage into the Rainbow family gathering in Brazil in 2012.

« Namaste brothers and sisters! », this is a salute from many of the Rainbow gathering participants. The gatherings of the Rainbow family are meetings of international alternative cultures in the wild. It was created in the United States in 1972 by advanced hippies, spiritual and vegetarian inspired by an Indian Hopi prophecy. People from all around the world, from all different levels of society and ages gather during a month to experiment an « other » way of living based on ecological and pacifist values, free exchange of produce and knowledge, all forms of art and expression, natural medecine... « We just want to live together in happiness and Love in creating a world far from the capitalist society. » says Josie, a pretty brazilian with her angelic smile. The Rainbow is also a chance to celebrate and party with artists and musicians in harmony with Pachamama, the mother earth. The Family has over 300 000 members all over the world. « It's the most open family in the world!» claims Eric Mandala, a musicien that's come to Rainbows since 15 years. The guitar strung over is back, long blond rastas, dressed as nature intended, he adds « Here, everyone opens their arms, help you and listen. There is no religion even if we have adepts from all of the religions. There is no leader, politics or violence. The children run free in the woods. You can wear what you want, there is a real respect of life, it's pure harmony. ». The running of the rainbow village is based on free exchange of objects and actions, everyone lends a hand. Some feel good in the kitchen, some dig ecological latrines or look after the kids, make craft, others help at the first aid tent, build tipi's or animate workshops ( vegetarian cooking, yoga, massage, meditation, circus, natural therapies...)
I have been going to Rainbow gathering for many years. When i learnt that the international meeting of this year would be in Brazil, in the deep jungle of Do Caparao, I jumped at the chance to share a month with my brothers and sisters in the heart of an amazing wild nature, the Mata Atlantica. I wanted to take portraits of these beautiful people in a more artistic way than just purely documentary. I'm also a painter, tattoo artist and filmaker, so I felt like mixing it all up in an original way. The body-painting idea is to ask each subject what their totem animal or plant is, the element of nature they feel physically and psychologically in symbiosis with, their connection with Pachamama, the amerindian goddess.This idea is totally into the Rainbow philosophy. For the people painted it's an interesting exercise to be the canvas of the work of art, and it's very amusing during brazilian carnaval. Some hesitated and looked for their animal or just posed naked, whilst others transformed themselves into an eagle or tiger easily. The series is thus a mix of arts, a photographic documentary crossed with paint and theatral performance. The sons and daughters of the Rainbow lent themselves to the game with great pleasure, a beautiful present from the family because normally photos are forbidden during the gathering. A big thank you to them.
The project is just a beginning, because 2012 is a special year! For the first time there will be two international Rainbow gatherings joined by many convoys. Groups left this brazilian Rainbow, travelling by horse, car or bus through Latin America over 9 months, with the aim to be in Mexico for the next gathering in december to celebrate the astrological alignment of the planets and the end of the Mayan calender with thousands of people. The Rainbow people don't believe in the apocalypse but in a Universal Love Energy, a major spiritual change of humanity's consciousness.
I'm counting on joining one of the convoys to be in the big gathering in december to continue the adventure, to follow my serie of portraits and to realise a film about the Rainbow family.

You are all welcome to join us.