Indigenous woman, multi-artist, born in the Colônia village, in the Cana Brava Indigenous Reserve in Maranhão, Brazil. I've lived in the midst of art from a very early age, and sharing this upbringing is what permeates my work. I consider myself a fugitive from the common and in search of what is original, what is capable of crossing borders. My languages are many: what interests me is to communicate. I believe that art has this superpower to communicate and transform, that's why I express myself through it. My first language is Ze’eng Eté (“good/true speech”), a dialect of the Tupi-Guarani trunk; my second language is Portuguese.

The video installation presented here brings together two artistic rituals performed in collaboration with Mariana Villas Boas, who directed both videos. The first video, Aiku’è zepé [I still r-exist], is a project that was born out of the need to express the concerns as an indigenous body and woman struggling to survive the chaos left by “civilization”. The narrative emerges from the earth, representing the birth of a genuine being in symbiosis with nature; body and nature as inseparable beings that will go through a process of searching for an identity. Indigenous painting symbolizes the first identity, ancestrality. This process is interrupted by the denial of origin, being brutally torn out to make way for a new identity that is represented by Western painting. Western painting symbolizes the castration suffered by the indigenous subject in an attempt to insert him or herself into society, to “civilize him or her”. In a cyclical and delicate movement, there is the return to the land, the rescue and connection with nature – the struggle for indigenous inclusion in society without relinquishing their ancestrality.

The second video, Pytuhem – A Letter in Defense of the Guardians of the Forest, suggests a continuity to Aiku’è zepé with a focus on the identity that was imposed upon me. Throughout the trajectory of my life, I tell the struggle of indigenous peoples for “r-existence”, inviting you to get to know our history. Pytuhem [Breathe]: it is a letter that denounces what is happening with the Guardians of the Forest, a group of Guajajaras that fight for the preservation of the forest, its people, ancestrality and identity. The Guardians of the Forest in Araribóia, Maranhão, also protect their Awá Guajá relatives, indigenous people who live completely isolated, without contact with civilization. R-existing is the only possibility to exist.

Throughout 2021 and 2022, the Video Room program is part of the Brazilian Histories cycle at MASP, and in this first year includes works by Ana Pi, Teto Preto, Regina Vater, Zahy Guajajara and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster.

CURATED BY   Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director, MASP