Bernarda de Souza and Her Mother (Bernarda de Souza)

Juliana dos Santos2020

Pinacoteca de São Paulo

Pinacoteca de São Paulo
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Bernarda de Sousa bought her manumission with the money she managed to save selling green groceries in Rio de Janeiro. Aiming to increase her income, she acquired an enslaved woman to serve her. Shortly after, she also bought her own mother, Marta de Sousa. In 1755, already widowed, without heirs and sick, Bernarda went to the local registry office to finally free her mother. She knew that under then-current laws the property of a dead person without a will would go to the state. In that case her mother would be auctioned off. Bernarda then went to the registry office and registered that she had bought her mother because she felt obligated to protect her. She said that if she had kept her mother in captivity, it had only been “to keep her mother in her company, treating her with due veneration.”


  • Title: Bernarda de Souza and Her Mother (Bernarda de Souza)
  • Creator: Juliana dos Santos
  • Date Created: 2020
  • Physical Dimensions: 41,9 x 29,7 cm (Suporte)
  • Provenance: Projeto Enciclopédia Negra (Companhia das Letras em parceria com a Pinacoteca de São Paulo, apoio do Instituto Ibirapitanga e colaboração do Instituto Soma Cidadania Criativa). Doação do artista, por intermédio da Associação Pinacoteca Arte e Cultura - APAC - em processo.
  • Type: Fotografia
  • Medium: digital print and ink on paper

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