University of São Paulo: Virtual exhibition showcases contemporary indigenous art

Indigenous Ancestral Gift is the name of the virtual exhibition of contemporary indigenous art that is on display at the fifth edition of The Wrong Biennale – one of the most important digital art events in the world. Through videos, photographs, drawings and music, 23 indigenous artists from different regions and ethnicities – from Brazil and abroad – express their art, their culture and their concerns with the situation of native peoples today. The exhibition is curated by visual artist and composer Tassia Mila, a graduate student in Visual Arts at the School of Communications and Arts (ECA) at USP and an indigenous Pataxó-Kiriri, from Jequié, Bahia. Free, the exhibition is available at this link.

“Through art, we, indigenous people of different branches, peoples, with their different histories, each in their own way, in this Pindorama territory, where Brazil was invented, we crossroads and we make a choir, a song, a cry, a noise, a protest”, highlights Tassia, in a text that opens the exhibition.

Among the works presented in the exhibition are photographs by Pepyaká Krikati, of the Krikati people, from Maranhão. They show the tradition of body painting of that people. “We use annatto for body painting, as well as genipap paint, which has a dark bluish texture. Annatto is red, it is essential and cannot be missed on days of games and cultural festivals in the village”, explains the artist.

A woodcut and the video O Verbo se Fez Carne are contributions to the exhibition exhibited by Ziel Karapotó, from the Karapotó nation, multimedia visual artist, filmmaker, actor and cultural producer graduated from the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE). With just over six minutes, the video – produced in 2019 – highlights the differences between indigenous traditions and the discourse of Pentecostal missionaries.

Thaysa Aussuba’s drawings are another attraction of Indigenous Ancestral Gift . A student of Arts at UFPE, she uses different supports and pigments in her works, including watercolor and acrylic paint. “I seek to exercise the potential for affective and social transformation through the collective construction of knowledge and expressiveness”, she says.

Composer, poet, writer and storyteller of the Anishinaabe people of Ontario, Canada, artist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson performs the song Under Your Always Light . Regarding this work, she points out: “Both a love song and a battle cry of defiance against colonialism, Under Your Always Light is a whispered declaration of love for the land and creates the ambience for a hypnotic rhythm of sinuous sounds.”

Curator Tassia Mila also presents works in the exhibition. She is the author of sound pieces that reproduce sounds of nature. Among these works are Talking with Birds , Song of the River and Dos Songs Heard in the Forest . “With the sound pieces I compose, I want to activate the sense that wild nature, with its waters, rivers, seas, oceans, animals, plants, rocks, mountains, wind, fire, tells its story”, says Tassia.

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