We know about the animals that licked stones, about the first humans who walked into caves seeking the taste of salt. We know about the importance of the balance of the waters and the influence of the moons.
Purification demanded by the sea as it serpentines down narrow channels. Water exhausted. A ground that only accepts bare feet.
Women no longer carry thirty kilos of salt of a single color on their heads, shifting the weight, building white walls in wooden houses, but the bodies still guide themselves by the threads of land, day after day, as they bring order to the beaches and carefully work the seascapes. Salt cannot be rushed or trusted. When it is left for the night, no one can guess how it will be in the morning. Only those who understand its whims know how to bring back its whiteness.
Seemingly little more than silence, this place is an ancestral heritage of humans who learnt how to read nature, how to bring the sea ashore, using tides and moons. A craft open to randomness and the whims of the weather, but that has persisted for millennia and is intimately linked to the history of humanity.
From this place, we look at the future. From a ground we prepare without guarantees. We know it will be reclaimed by the sea the moment we let it rest.
This work was developed in the salt fields of Figueira da Foz, Portugal, within the scope of the Project ‘Sustain’ of Porto Photography Biennial.
All images and text © Maria Oliveira
By Maria Oliveira
Maria’s Previous Contribution To Edge Of Humanity Magazine
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