Expo Milano 2015 opened on May 1st with the primary theme of Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life. Alessandra Sanguinetti had been commissioned to photograph for the Islands, Sea and Food cluster of the exhibition.
“Mayotte, Dominica and Vanuatu, each in the midst of far apart oceans, have distinctive languages, religion and histories, but they all share a caring and deep relationship to the land. Mangos, coconuts, bananas, pineapples, cocoa trees, avocados, taro, breadfruit… All these grow outside almost everyone’s home, so no matter peoples financial resources, the land offers rich sustenance and a sense of self sufficiency that is all, but lost to most of us in the larger continents. The coral paste that Mayotte women protect their faces with, the palm leaves and bamboo used to build homes, the elaborate laplap in Vanuatu, the pristine streams one can drink and fish from in Dominica, all depend on a very delicate balance between culture and nature, that these islands manage to maintain. I’ll never forget a day in Vanuatu, when together with a group of villagers we sailed to a deserted island made up of miles of mangroves. The women climbed through tangles of slippery branches to reach a clearing with muddy water where they would wade through for hours, feeling for shellfish with their feet. When done, they’d gently weave palm leaves into strong beautiful baskets to carry the shellfish in. From the beach, while they chatted, drank from coconuts and roasted a freshly caught fish, they all waved at a small boat which had palm leaves for sails and was smoothly being swayed by the wind”.