Escavos escapados

Slaves and animals were treated without distinction
Words by
© Guilherme Bergamini

Slave marking was a cruel control mechanism. There was a legal basis to justify, making hot-branding legitimate, which was in force in Brazil since 1603. The newspapers of this period included a section entitled "Escavos escapados", in which they described the captured subject and the initials: "The 29-year-old brown slave Adão, belonging to the undersigned farmer, is found in this city. He is tall, thin, has good teeth and some signs of punishment on his back, with the S.P. mark on his buttocks. He is very talkative and has the habit of boasting a lot about the Province of Bahia where he is a son. Whoever arrests him and takes him to the correction house will be rewarded with the amount of $ 200."

© Guilherme Bergamini

Fleeing slaves or those who rebelled frequently could receive a new mark, sometimes on their foreheads, to make insubordination public. The "stamps" could vary according to the buyer's taste. Some preferred it on the thigh, others on the arms, belly, chest, and face. Slaves and animals were treated without distinction, some were "screwed" still in their homeland, even before they embarked for Brazil. Even children were not spared this cruelty.

© Guilherme Bergamini

© Guilherme Bergamini
Photographic reporter and visual artist, Guilherme Bergamini is Brazilian and graduated in Journalism. For more than two decades, he has developed projects with photography and the various narrative possibilities that art offers. The works of the artist are a dialogue between history and social, political criticism. He believes photography has the aesthetic potential to transform society. Awarded in national and international competitions, Guilherme Bergamini participated in collective exhibitions in 30 countries.
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