by Cai Lima

The impressive beauty of this place attracts people from all walks of life across the country, seeking solace in nature and peace, away from the chaos and violence of big cities in Brazil. I was one of them, relocating here in 2022 to pursue art and work remotely as an English teacher.

However, as with any utopia, there comes a price. This once-secluded region in the mountains had to grow, and post-pandemic the pace of that growth accelerated dramatically. Bulldozers, concrete, and technology swiftly transformed the landscape, erasing traditions and histories in their wake.

Witnessing this upheaval, I felt a mix of frustration, anger, and guilt. I realized I was a part of this change—the “gentrifier.” This realization prompted a series of questions: How do I fit into all of this? How do the locals feel about me and others coming here?

These questions form the heart of my exploration, as I grapple with the role of gentrification in the transformation of this serene haven into a bustling hub.

Click on any photo below to begin the slideshow:

Cai is an American/Brazilian visual artist and educator born in Berkeley, California, and currently living in Canela, Brazil. His work focuses on digital manipulation of images, experimentation, and pushing the boundaries of photography, while remaining grounded in established concepts of composition and color. His work has been published in several renowned art magazines in the US.

URGENT HELP NEEDED. Devastating floods have hit Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, leaving the state with at least 95 dead, 131 missing, and 372 injured. Two hundred and eighty one municipalities are affected, with over 115,000 forced to leave their homes. The state’s governor, Eduardo Leite, called it a “historic disaster” and emphasized the need for immediate assistance.

In Porto Alegre, Brazil’s southernmost metropolis with over 4 million people, rescuers are facing immense challenges, navigating over 17 feet of water—higher than the previous record, during the historic flood of 1941. Rescue teams are working tirelessly, but they need our support! Please consider donating to help those affected. Every contribution counts! Find the link to the news story and donation details through the following link:

Let’s come together to help those in need and spread awareness about the impact of extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change.

SLAG GLASS CITY • Volume 10 • May 2024
Header image by Cai Lima.