Paradise Row proudly presents Ka’a Body: Cosmovision of the Rainforest, curated by Sandra Benites and Anita Ekman. The exhibition of indigenous art, culture and thought from Brazil spotlights the role of indigenous women artists working across a variety of different disciplines.
26 November – 29 January 2022
Profits to be donated in aid of protecting the historical, environmental, and cultural heritage of Indigenous people, with beneficiary NGOs chosen by the curators and exhibiting artists.
This historic showcase of art by Indigenous Brazilian artists, and the creative networks that surround them is curated by indigenous anthropologist Sandra Benites (Guarani Nhandeva), curator of Brazilian Art at MASP – The Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, with the curatorial assistance of Brazilian visual artist and performer Anita Ekman.
Ka’a Body is the first international presentation of Indigenous art and culture from Brazil staged by an Indigenous curator. Consciously expansive and inclusive in its representation, the exhibition features a rich variety of work, encompassing documented performance, film, photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture and traditional indigenous arts.
The exhibition is conceived as a portal between two distant yet connected worlds: the vast and complex world of the rainforests of Brazil (the Amazon and the remnants of the Atlantic Rainforest) and the world of London, also vast and complex, one of the centres of global capitalism, which profited from those forests and its indigenous peoples on its path to greatness.
Historically, the relationship between these two worlds has been the invasion and exploitation of the former by the latter. The Atlantic Rainforest that once stretched along Brazil’s Atlantic coast and hundreds of miles inland, the ancestral home of the Guarani, Benites’ own nation, is now reduced to around 8% of its pre-Colonial size. The forest was cleared to extract gold and cultivate sugar and coffee, using the slave labour of both Africans captured and transported to Brazil and Indigenous peoples. Europeans’ merchants profited from the sugar trade, while Brazilian gold flowed from Portugal to London, fuelling the development of English capitalism.
Anita Ekman, assistant curator says: “The Amazon is more anthropogenic than previously thought, meaning that around 60% of the forest was planted, cultivated, and intensively managed by Indigenous hands and minds. Not only is this biome a great cultural creation, but its survival is also a legacy of Indigenous resistance to colonisation, a gift from Indigenous peoples to the world.”
Conceptually, this intimate and foundational link between what Western thought would divide into ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ is key to the curatorial vision of Ka’a Body.
Sandra Benites, curator says: “Indigenous contemporary art performs a fundamental role in translating the relationships that make up this complex web of the diversity of life in this territory (expressed in the cosmovisions of indigenous peoples), while simultaneously providing a space for denouncing the harsh depletion it has incurred over centuries. Through the polyphony of voices, colours, and performances of the works that indigenous artists have contributed to the exhibition, ancestral lore crosses current episodes of resistance and points out the need to rethink therelationship between Earth Beings (humans and non-humans) so that efforts may be joined in ensuring the continuity of the diversity of life on the planet.”
The exhibition explores the relationship between the body and territory as a way of establishing a dialogue between the indigenous and non-indigenous on the history of the forests and bodies, as well as the cosmologies of Indigenous cultures from the Brazilian rainforests of the Amazon and the Atlantic.
Benites adds: “The artworks in this exhibition reflect the worldviews of the Indigenous people, which are inseparable from the forest. We launch this exhibition to open a true dialogue which will enable healing and create a space of exchange with the other through these artworks.”
In an act repeated with each show in its year-long programme, Paradise Row Projects invited the curators to select the NGOs that will benefit from the show. Accordingly, Ka’a Body will raise funds for
two ecologically focused charities in Brazil: Instituto Maracá, a non-governmental organisation with the purpose of protecting and disseminating the historical, environmental and cultural heritage of Indigenous people, and AmazoniAlerta, a blockchain based app designed with and for the people of the Amazon, enabling them to share and store, securely, anonymously and in real-time, critical data on attacks on them and the forest.
Participating artists and Paradise Row Projects will donate 20% of each sale to the NGOs. Additionally, Paradise Row Projects, a registered Community Interest Company, will donate all profits from the exhibition to the NGOs.
An online festival will accompany the show’s physical manifestation, to be presented in collaboration with the Instituto Maracá and hosted on the Paradise Row Projects website.
About Paradise Row Projects
Paradise Row Projects is a one-year, not-for-profit, curatorial project that showcases outstanding cultural projects, drawn from across London, the UK and the world, that foreground social and environmental impact. Each exhibition and event will be fundraising for specific, urgent, social and environmental needs and causes.
For more information and tickets click here.