The gaze of Mestre Gabriel
In homage to Mestre Gabriel, creator of the União do Vegetal, who would be turning 95 years old this February 10th, the UDV will publish a series of texts throughout this week. The text, “The gaze of the Mestre,” by journalist Edson Lodi*, is the first in the series. The text was published in the book Relicário – Imagens do Sertão. (Reliquary- Images of the Hinterland). The wish of the blog is that the published materials can be received as a gift to all who accompany “Sir” Gabriel in the fulfillment of the mission.
In all temples of the União do Vegetal there exists the photo of Mestre Gabriel affixed to the main wall. This black-and-white image, taken on one of his birthdays on February 10th, calls the attention of all who enter.
Mestre Gabriel’s forehead is lightly illuminated. The light is reflected by the arch and highlights the word UNIVERSAL, which is written on it. It still shines on his grave and serious face, like the face of someone who carries a cross and sows flowers of the most vivid colors along the path. Could it be the burst of the flash or does this light come from his illuminated heart?
Mestre Gabriel’s firm and penetrating gaze – like someone who sees the movements of the present, and synchronized with time, foresaw one hundred years into the future – transmits the impression that it moves, accompaning the person that looks at the photo; it is something impresive.
“It was during a session, in the old house, on his birthday, I just don’t recall what year. I said that I would take a photo, he made the gesture and I took it. It [the image captured] is truly his mannerism.”
Mestre Gabriel finds himself standing up, under the arch. He stands erect and demonstrates the assurance and the confidence of someone who knows what they’re doing. It is thought that he is lightly inclined to the left without that causing him to lose stability. The weight of the responsibility on his shoulders doesn’t seem to weigh more than necessary. The Mestre is in his fortress.
The gesture of extending his left hand in direction of the turned over cup transcends the image, the minutiae that a inattentive onlooker doesn’t manage to absorb. Just like the sailor, who in order to set sail and transport his companions, rights the ship and says his prayer, Mestre Gabriel is serene and radiates tranquility to those who will accompany him on the imponderable; on what is to come.
In the original photograph, before it was edited so that photo be better displayed in the temples, mestres Bartolomeu and Florêncio can be seen on the right, along with brother Valdomiro (“Sir” Belém).
All of the elements are perfect and naturally inserted, composing the entirety that frames the presence of the Mestre in the photograph. But not simply decorations, the record player, the cups, the small jar, which possibly contains water, and the arch are indispensable instruments to the ritual of a scheduled session.
The cake in honor of the person celebrating their birthday was decorated with the simplicity of goodwill and displayed on the rustic table. It’s significance goes beyond the image of what appears at first glance in the photo. In the invisible field of ideas, the force of fraternity and of joy is present there.
**Mestre Cícero Alexandre Lopes is he author of the photograph of Mestre Gabriel. The image is present in all of the Nucleos of the União do Vegetal.