Project texts and introductions by :
Stephanie Pommez
. Danilo Santos de Miranda . Milton Hatoum


Mães de Umbigo: midwives of the Amazon
[ portuguese ]


Somewhere between reality and the spellbinding rainforest, between the uncertain shores of legend and wisdom, a group of women, true guardians of life, trace their destiny. They are the midwives of the Amazon.

This exhibit is dedicated to the women who are guided by experience and ancestral knowledge, what they humbly refer to as "a gift from God".

Maes de Umbigo is an intimate and delicate portrait of the fragile and dramatic entrance of human life into the Amazon Rainforest.

The Community of midwives allowed me into the intimate circles where new life or the void of life departed could be captured. I am forever indebted to them for their trust and their teachings. The Midwives of the Amazon are mothers to the life of communities, they are guardians of the forest and their virtues are sung in the stories traveling along its rivers and riverbank communities of this immense, inhospitable and spellbinding region.


The midwives will leave their homes, their families and loved ones for hours and even days on end, to watch over mothers-to-be in their time of need, at any moment. They carry their experience in their hands (literally so), their serenity in their voice and transmit confidence and reassurance through their storytelling and experienced ways.

The midwife is much more than a person assisting a birth. She is a mother, a daughter, a storyteller, a priestess, a confidante...she is the incarnation of every woman in the riverbank community.

This project is also the result of a personal journey the search for a sense of belonging. In the case of the riverbank communities, there is a sense of place, there is a sense of self contained in each and every one of its members.

I dedicate this exhibit to the midwives, the ones i called Maes de Umbigo, the ones who taught me to see the dignity in the cry of a newborn life borne in the rainforest.

Stephanie Pommez

In memory of Dona Dorca,
to whom I am forever indebted
for teaching me to see beauty and find dignity,
to celebrate a love of life in its gestation.