Garimpeiros: The Wildcat Gold Miners of the Amazon Rainforest

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 8:00am to Fri, 08/31/2018 - 5:00pm
Ocean Gallery

The UCSB Library presents an exhibition of photographs of illegal gold mines in the Brazilian Amazon.  Curated by Jeffrey Hoelle, UCSB Associate Professor of Anthropology.

Garimpo is a Brazilian Portuguese term meaning a small-scale, informal, and often illegal gold mining camp.  The wildcat miners who work in the mines are known as garimpeiros.  Across the centuries, garimpeiros have scoured the most remote reaches of the Amazon rainforest in search of gold.  The garimpeiros unearth the gold that shines across the world, but they have the dirtiest of reputations. Gold mining is responsible for an estimated 10% Amazonian deforestation, as well as mercury contamination and sedimentation of vital rivers.  In international news reports, garimpeiros are presented as violent and immoral villains pillaging the forest beyond the reach of the law. This exhibition provides a deeper understanding of Amazonian garimpeiros through anthropological research conducted in the garimpos in 2014 and 2015.  

Hoelle will present a related talk "The Anthroplogy of Rainforest Destruction" on February 13, 2018, at 4pm.