Noiva do Cordeiro (All we need)
Noiva do Cordeiro, a community of 300 women and men in south-eastern Brazil, is one of the most beautiful examples of what women and men are capable of and, perhaps most importantly, where women rule. There is no violence and no church, no hierarchies, no privileges. And the central figure of the village is a modest old lady: Matriarch Delina. In her village, fights are not brought to court but solved in long discussions. Everybody earns the same. For small and bigger investments everybody helps with what they can. Homosexual love is as accepted as heterosexual love. Kids are looked after in turn, the older and the sick are taken care of. In the huge community house in the centre of the village, food is cooked for everybody several times a day. They smoke, dance and celebrate. And – very different from the rest of the country – power lies in women ́s hands. The origin of this female rule lies in the village ́s history. Towards the end of the 1950s, a strict evangelical priest married the then 16-year-old Delina and established a rigid system: No music, no contraception, only long hair and clothes, several daily hours of praying and a woman´s word always less valid than a man’s. In the early 1990s the women finally rebelled and broke with the autocrat. They turned away from his male dominated regime. They banned religion, wanted to live compassionately, without a priest, in a community without prohibition. Trying to classify the community structure of Noiva do Cordeiro, one would probably call them matriarchal, socialist and grass-roots democrats. But people in Noiva don ́t need terms or theories. Their principle is – and that may sound as utopian as it is beautiful – love. Everything else follows.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in Regional Studies of Latin America at Cologne University, Germany, in 2012, Marlena started studying Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of Applied Sciences in Hanover, Germany with Rolf Nobel. As a freelance photographer she has been working for international media outlets, mainly for the Dutch national De Volkskrant. The artist’s work has been awarded and exhibited internationally. Her latest recognition was an honorable mention at the Unicef Picture of the Year Award and a shortlist position for the Nannen Preis. 

Marlena Waldthausen (DE) "Noiva do Cordeiro (All we need)" - Helphoto 2020
Marlena Waldthausen (DE) "Noiva do Cordeiro (All we need)" - Helphoto 2020