The most "African" of the Brazilian villages in the south of Bahia has a Swiss name: Helvecia. It owes its name to a plantation from which it originated, founded in 1818 by Swiss and German settlers, and the coffee grown on its vast estates brought them great wealth. This would not have been possible without exploitation: in the mid-19th century, for every 200 white settlers, there were 2,000 slaves of African origin. With great sensitivity and in dialogue with the inhabitants, the Swiss photographer Dom Smaz goes in search of the traces of the past, capturing the life of the inhabitants. His photographs, accompanied by contributions from, among others, Shalini Randeria, an internationally renowned expert on post-colonialism, provide a new look at the history and origins of Switzerland's prosperity, revealing global stories of interdependence and power relations from the past that continue into the present.
Available from October 2022
Edited by Dom Smaz, Milena Machado Neves
With photographs by Dom Smaz
With essays by Izabel Barros, Christian Doninelli, Flávio dos Santos Gomes, Rohit Jain, Shalini Randeria
Design: Adrien Moreillon