program 2023

Matchbox (Caixa de Fósforo)

Director Biography – Jennifer Cabral
Jennifer Cabral holds a BFA from two Brazilian institutions: School of Fine Arts Escola Guignard with a concentration in Photography, and a BFA in Social Communications from PUC-Minas with a concentration in Advertising. She relocated to the U.S. and attended classes at the continuing education Program at The School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2022, she received a Master of Information degree from Rutgers University School of Communication with a concentration in Archives and Preservation. Her studies focused on potentialities brought into collections when photography and archives intertwine.
A member of National Press Photographer Association, she started freelancing for newspapers in central New Jersey in 2002 and has been an independent photographer for over 20 years.
As one of the finalists in a beauty contest, my maternal grandmother, Maria Eulina Vieira dos Santos, would be awarded with her photo stamped on matchboxes. Engaged at 15, her future husband did not approve such an award. She ended the engagement on May 13th, claiming her freedom and exclaiming: “On this day, slavery was abolished.”
In this work – part historical research, part imaginary – I confront the right of a white woman to compare her lack of autonomy with that of an enslaved body.
The subjugation of women prevalent in a patriarchal society is a mere backdrop to expose how inappropriate it is to compare the subjugation of a white woman with the systematic oppression, torture and appropriation of human beings. Especially by a woman that was member of a family that benefited from the systematic enslavement of other human beings as operator of sugar cane plantations in Brazil – the last nation in the western world to abolish slavery.