AMA - Fordlandia
March 11th To May 1st, 2015
1889 F Street NW
Washington DC 20006


The Lost City of Henry Ford 

On view March 11 - May 1, 2015

Opening Reception: March 11 at 6pm

AMA | Art Museum of the Americas and the OAS Department of Sustainable Development are pleased to present Fordlandia, the first in the series Megalomania by UK photographer Dan Dubowitz. These photographs, completed in 2012, reveal what has become of Fordlandia, the American town built in the Brazilian rainforest by tycoon Henry Ford. This series comprises 10 photographs of Henry Ford's abandoned new town in the Amazon, set in the context of documentary photographs from the 1930's. The project reflects on Henry Ford's megalomania at the time of the last great depression, and the precedent it established for industrialized consumption.
In 1927, seeking to sidestep the British rubber monopoly, Ford bought 2.5 million acres of rainforest on the Rio Tapajos deep in the Brazilian Amazon basin to establish a private source of rubber. 7,000 acres of forest were cleared while the head office in Michigan shipped in houses, a hospital, a school, a sawmill, a machine shop, and other facilities. The surrounding rainforest was burnt and cleared, and 2 million young rubber trees were planted. Riots and the absolute failure of the plantation followed.

The precedents that Fordlandia helped establish has led to an onslaught on the rainforest: the colossal scale clearance of rainforest for hard woods, soya crops, grass for beef cows and pollution caused by oil and gold mining. The rainforest has an important role in the global ecosystem and its immense biodiversity can only continue to be an infinite source of knowledge for climate, for medicines, for understanding plant and animal life - only if the Amazon is not viewed, as Ford did, as a resource for consumption.

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