Eldorado or El Dorado is an ancient legend told by indigenous people to the Spanish settlers at the time of the colonization of the Americas. The legend is about a city whose buildings were made of solid gold and which hid unimaginable treasuries.
This piece of work is accompanied by a Certificate of Carbon-14 Test performed by the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture of the University of São Paulo (CENA/USP), which indicates that the age of one of the wood species used in the piece, Brazil wood (pau-brasil), is 683 years.
This work is part of Harvest 1866 (Safra 1866), a collection of unique or serial wooden pieces created by the artist. According to records of the National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN), 1866 is the historic age of the big house where the artist obtained the wood.
By having the age of the wood determined, the artist demonstrates his intent of localizing the importance of this raw material in Brazil’s economic and historical context. The set features three important wood species used in Brazil over time.
It is assembled and carefully presented as ingots that suggest the artist’s intent to discuss the value and perception of cultural wealth, which is represented by the three different ethnic groups that formed Brazil as we know it: white wood, peroba do campo (Aspidosperma tomentosum), symbolizing the white ethnic group of settlers; red wood, the Brazil wood, representing the native indigenous people; and, finally, black wood, braúna (Melanoxylon brauna), representing the slaves brought to the country.
This is how this piece presents the richness of the Brazilian syncretism and its contribution to build the country we know now.