Photographic Essays

periferias 5 | public, environmental, and democratic health

Water! Our Right to a Common Good

Imagens do Povo | Observatório de Favelas

Bira Carvalho | Bárbara Dias | Natália Perdomo | Fernando Jesus | Renato Errejota

| Brazil |

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Opening the faucet and providing yourself with clean and safe water, a seemingly banal and simple act, is something unavailable to billions of people around the world. 

At least 40 million city and metropolis residents do not have access to basic sanitation services. Although the United Nations has recognized, since 2010, the right to water as essential to life and to exercising citizens’ rights, we are still far from winning this right for all. Such lack of access results in countless impacts on health, impacts even more evident during the current pandemic.

Synonymous with radical vulnerability to infections and deaths, a lack of access to clean and safe water is yet another piece of latent evidence of necropolitics exercised against the favelas, peripheries, and their inhabitants.

Water as a common and unalienable good is the theme of the photographic essays in this edition, organized by Rio de Janeiro photographer Bira Carvalho, a Maré native and longtime, crucial partner to Peripheries. Carvalho has invited photographers Natalia Perdomo, Fernando Jesus, Bárbara Dias and Renato Errejota to contribute to this edition.

As we know, the daily life of residents of popular territories is marked by distance, scarcity, and deprivation in relation to access to water. However, the images here challenge us to embrace the different social uses of water, highlighting fundamental values in our reuniting with nature. These streams emerge from the favelas and peripheries, inviting us to affirm and celebrate the Right to Life.


Bira Carvalho | Brazil |

Bira Carvalho is the Coordinator of the Images of the People project at the Favelas Observatory.

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