An ode to someone I love!
At his gallery

My mother died when I was 17. My father raised me and my sister Herica, whom was then 13. My father died 2 years ago. ** Post from October 2016 **

Naldo Navajas was a painter and started his career in the 70’s. After a long distance relation with my mother, he decided to move to Ouro Preto – a historical city in Minas Gerais, Brazil. There, he started from zero, opened a gallery and lived by his art.

My father was a great man. Brave, talented and with a strong personality. My father was really black or white, stood up for his believes – made some enemies in his path, helped people either with words, prayers, medicine, love, clothes, food, took care of homeless dogs…  There was always coffee and kind words at his house.

My father was a spiritualist and believed we came here with a purpose. He believed we were all connected and we should all do good to each other. My father was comprehensive and kind, but also very perfectionist, inpatient and extremely hardheaded. An inventor, a wise and visionary man.

I remember many times that we crossed some children during Christmas, and the little ones said “Santa Claus, Santa Claus!!” due to his white long hair… Once there was this conversation between two kids:

– Look, look: God! (referring to my dad)

– No, that is not God, that’s “Jesus”: my mom has a picture of him at home!

There are many funny stories…. and sad ones.

My father was not materialistic. At the end of his life, he lived in the most simple house ever, close to his memories, to his LPs (which he still used), his dogs, his tools. He would never say no to someone in need. He taught me to be kind even to the unkind. He gave me wings to believe in myself, to pursue, to get up when I would fall, to fight for what is right, to pray for those who – by any reason – speak bad against me. To be myself no matter what.

My father was a great artist. He created beautiful paintings to express himself and the way he saw the world. Impressionist, with an amazing composition, understand of colours, seasons, anatomy and light.

My father would not enter someone’s house, if he didn’t feel like he shouldn’t. Spiritual stuff I never dare to understand. He believed in the teachings of Allan Kardec, believed in reincarnation – and we certainly had our disagreements. One thing was always clear, I’ve learned how to be positive with him, to expect the best from people and situations, to raise above (sorry the bad language) all the stupid bullshit and mediocrity.

Before he died, he was still driving his old green Opala Chevrolet 1971. He remained painting till his last day. In our last Skype conversation, we talked about everything, from Joaquim to photography. He complimented me about some photos, criticised too, laughed and was there for me.

The saddest day of my life it was…

Comforting only to have relates close by. At his funeral I’ve seen known rich people from our town, but I was really touched to see those “underdogs” to the society, a tear and a word of gratitude…. “your father changed my life”…

If I ever made anyone happy in this life, if I am a good person today, If I laugh, if I am positive and enthusiastic, I own it to my father. A hero, who did transcend his time with love and care for others. Someone who allowed me to grow, who believed in me, nurtured me and and pushed me to my limits, to pursue my dreams even if they looked hard and impossible, even if I had to leave my homeland and fatefully leave him as well.

To those who lost someone they loved, a kiss and strong hug.




Author: Helen Navajas

"Als je op zoek bent naar een leuke, lieve en enthousiaste fotograaf dan ben je bij Helen aan het goede adres! Wij zijn ontzettend blij dat Helen de foto's heeft gemaakt voor onze bruiloft. Helen heeft oog voor details, spontane en bijzondere momenten, zonder daarbij continu op de voorgrond aanwezig te zijn. Dit heb ik zelf als prettig ervaren. Helen heeft een prettige persoonlijkheid, waarbij je je snel op je gemak voelt. Toen ik sommige foto's later terug zag, kon ik me niet herinneren dat Helen deze had gemaakt. Dat is wat mij betreft hoe een top fotograaf te werk gaat: het maken van mooie, maar spontane foto's. Daarnaast zijn ook de fotoboeken van hoge kwaliteit." ​Anke Boerema, Amsterdam

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