Meet the Brazilian drag queen teaching Amazon villagers about conservation
A Brazilian drag queen is travelling around Amazon villages with a novel way of teaching about conservation—through performance art.
Emerson Munduruku, a 27-year-old biologist of indigenous descent who was born in the Amazon, transforms into Uyra Sodoma to show locals and children how to protect the planet.
“In a time of change, I had wanted to work in environmental protection. I was doing it from a scientific perspective but I realised it was also important from a social perspective. Until then, Uyra had no face or name,” he told AFP.
Uyra takes two hours to get ready and only uses materials from nature.
“Fundamental to the project is using the jungle as both an inspiration and a tool. This helps to connect people to the forest,” he said.
“Uyra is always met with either enchantment or fear… in cities, those who are enchanted approach to speak. But in the villages even those who are afraid approach. There’s no distance, it’s more spontaneous.
“It’s the same with children, they’re curious so they approach.”
“I’d spent six years of my life studying frogs and lizards… and one day I was hit coming out of a bar because I was wearing lipstick and eyeliner,” he said.
“That violence rocked me to my core…” he recalled, describing how the experience encouraged him to get in touch with the LGBT+ community and understand more about racism and homophobia, adding: “I became closer to the city and the people.”
“Uyra has given me a new lease on life. She makes me happy. She makes me more comfortable in my skin and with other people, as well as with my desires and concerns.”
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