Kapok | kopaK

Kapok | kopaK

Kapok | kopaK

Elias Ramos


LATS Photo Negative Assignment
LATS Photo Negative Assignment
Updated automatically every 5 minutes

                                                                        October 8, 2019

        This is a photo series that follows what happens to part of a kapok tree. In Maya cosmology, the kapok is the World Tree that supports the universe. This story is largely fictional, but laden with cultural ramifications.

The kapok is one of the mightiest of trees to the Maya. In its structure is reflected the structure of the universe.

Its strength is such that it makes for sturdy timber, but only for those who are willing to take it.

And this changes the tree. Perhaps it is a tree no longer, though the wood remains.

Like the tree that exemplifies the conduit between the heavens and the underworld, the river is also a path, on which people and items can travel. The wood now takes this road.

The river goes to the sea, and then to far-off lands, and then the wood becomes changed again, put to use. In this way, more can travel the river-roads.

In time, the changing of the wood slows. It no longer represents a road, but now is a vessel to travel on those paths.


It is brighter, and it remains strong. How do we understand these changes?


Alefa Madagascar. “Mahatsara.” Alefa Madagascar, 2015, http://www.pirogue-madagascar.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/boutre-mahatsara-1024x569.jpg.

Bukit Panjang Public Library. “[NRM] The Great Kapok Tree.” TickiKids Singapore, July 22 2017, https://tickikids.com/sg/bukit-panjang-public-library/nrm-the-great-kapok-tree/

Dias, Wilson. “Large-scale logging operations have had a devastating effect on Amazonia.” Climate News Network, Agência Brasil via Wikimedia Commons, December 10 2014, https://climatenewsnetwork.net/disaster-looms-if-loss-of-amazon-rainforest-continues/.

dw.com, Greenpeace, May 26 2012, https://www.dw.com/de/rousseffs-spagat-zwischen-regenwald-und-agrarlobby/a-15979395.

khowaga1. “Dhow Construction Yard (khowaga1).” Flickr, https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3180/2862337921_77a3e5e24f_b.jpg.