Whilst extractivism is a relation of domination, exploitation and accumulation, care persists as those practices and relations which maintain and reproduce liveable worlds. What is cared for and how care is done is often overlooked in the context of extractivism and capitalism, with the reproductive work required to care for the household, community or environment often undertaken outside wage labour. Yet care persists within and in spite of extractivism. Such practices can have transformative potential but also reinforce relations of domination, contradictions that are brought into sharper focus when placed in juxtaposition to the destructiveness of extractive industries. Many of the contributions to the Extracting Us exhibition invite us to recognise the direct and indirect ways extractivism asks challenging questions about practices of care. They also encourage the cultivation of care and of active solidarity with the human and more-than-human others on the frontlines of extractivism, despite distances across time and space.

Continue to explore connections with care

Edgar Kanaykõ Xakriabá - Resistência 2
Resistência 2

Indigenous peoples once again face the struggle against an outstanding genocide, where they kill bodies, wisdom, humans, non-humans, nature and culture in the name of a (capitalist) system that is increasingly doomed to fail. And once again, indigenous peoples are increasingly showing themselves as being beyond just the past, but also the present and especially the future of this planet.

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Clan or Commodity by V'cenza Cirefice. The Greencastle People’s Office (GPO)
The Greencastle People’s Office (GPO)

The GPO has been the site of resistance for over 800 days, a physical occupation of the area that would become a processing plant for the gold mine in the Sperrins. In April 2019, following warnings from the council to remove the caravans, activists responded by placing a caravan in the trees. What other ways of relating to each other exist in the extractive zone? At the GPO there is a culture of care and commoning as locals and their solidarity visitors do more than just resist, they share cups of tea, celebrations, music, stories, strategy and laughter.

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TAPESTRY project, Koli fishers photovoice: Picture 35
We don’t know what will happen to our children: fishing has become such an uncertain livelihood.

Mumbai still has a number of fishing villages inhabited by the artisanal Koli fishers who are dependent on the resource commons for their subsistence, food security, and livelihoods.

One of these is Uran – a fishing village north of the metropolis that is threatened by a number of infrastructure and urban development projects for almost thirty years. With a population of around 30,000 artisanal fishers until a decade ago, it now bears testimony to the perverse impacts of environmentally destructive development.

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Chanted memories: Waorani storytelling of resistance

Most of these recorded songs have been passed down through generations, dating back to when the Waorani lived with little or no contact with the colonial Ecuadorian society. They tell stories about the territory and the relationship of use and care the Waorani have with it. Other songs, like Unime’s one, are messages directed to the outside world, appeals for understanding and solidarity. Having witnessed the impact of oil in other Waorani communities and indigenous territories in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon, these pikenani (wise elders) women have been firm in rejecting oil activities in their communities.

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Dead Water, Participants & Marilene Ribeiro, Portrait of Maria Helena, Maria Dalva, and Larissa
Portrait of Maria Helena, Maria Dalva, and Larissa .

Maria Helena has followed in her father’s footsteps: her family had hosted the festivities of the St. Joseph Day for about one century. Every 19th of March inhabitants gathered in her family’s island for boat procession, baptism, and wedding services, and also to pray, sing, and dance. Maria Helena recalls that her family provided home-made “fireworks” and a feast to guests. Locals also decorated the boats and the site with handcrafts. When the Belo Monte dam project started, dwellers who inhabited local islands (like Maria Helena’s family) had to move and, as Maria Helena states, this tradition faded. Maria Helena comments she wished her granddaughter, Larissa, could carry on with this tradition as she herself has done since her father passed away.

Maria Helena’s and Maria Dalva’s feeling: sorrow

Object chosen by Maria Helena: statue of St. Joseph
Object chosen by Maria Dalva (Maria Helena’s daughter): one of the dead leaves (and also her wedding dress – she got married on Pivela’s Island)
Object chosen by Larissa (Maria Helena’s grandaughter): local soil
Location: dead plantation of açaí (acai berry) at their former backyard on Pivela’s Island (currently partially submerged by the reservoir of the Belo Monte dam)

© Maria Helena Almeida, Maria Dalva Almeida, Larissa Almeida, and Marilene Ribeiro 2016

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Maica Gugolati, Floating Tropics, Trinis in Wonderland. 2019 TT
Trinis in Wonderland

This project, Floating Tropics, challenges the visual omission of the oil and gas industry in the daily visualscape, showing the lands and waters of the country inhabited by its industries that cohabit and are camouflaged within the environment. In so doing, I invite the viewers to recognize the presence of the industry, to assume awareness about its environmental implications, arousing consciousness toward international enterprises’ interests on the territory. My final goal is to stimulate questionings about industrial development in order to improve individual and collective engagement for a sustainable future.

The title of this image is a quotation from the field note of my PhD dissertation (2018) while discussing about the gap between economic sustainability and wish of perpetuation of the life style established from the oil boom (1970s). This image is a digital collage of five different places in Trinidad that shows a surreal tropical, energetically and economically powerful wonder-land. What has been established as beautiful? Is the landscape that I see in my daily life what I want to be seen?

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