Glicéria Tupinambá Makes History as First Indigenous Artist to Lead Brazil’s Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Her upcoming solo exhibition seeks to “remember those who are on the margins, deterritorialised, invisibilised, imprisoned, and whose territorial rights have been violated.”

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Every edition of the Venice Biennale is memorable in its own way, but the 2024 iteration will surely be remembered many years from now for various reasons. On one end, organizers of the fair have been criticized for rejecting an exhibition by Palestinian artists amidst the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel — while on the opposite side, indigenous artists will make a triumphant mark by leading two major pavilions — Jeffrey Gibson, a Choctaw-Cherokee artist, who will lead the US Pavilion and Glicéria Tupinambá, who was just announced as the first indigenous artist to represent Brazil.

Speaking on the latter, Brazil’s portion of the fair will be changing to the Hãhãwpuá pavilion, one of the original indigenous names for the country before it was colonized by the Portuguese. Glicéria Tupinambá, who also goes by Célia Tupinambá, hails from the Tupinambá community of Serra do Padeiro in Northeastern Brazil, and is known as a staunch public activist for women’s rights and indigenous representation. Back in 2010, Tupinambá and her child were imprisoned after returning to live on her community’s ancestral land. Nine years later, she spoke at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva lambasting the Brazilian government for its treatment of the nation’s indigenous population.

Tupinambá will present an exhibition entitled Ka’a Pûera: we are walking birds, a reference to both the capoeira dance, which was also originally conceived as a form of self defense, as well alluding to the bird of the same name, revered for its ability to disguise itself in the jungle — many of which were being destroyed under former Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro.

According to a statement by the pavilion’s curators, the exhibition seeks to “remember those who are on the margins, deterritorialised, invisibilised, imprisoned, and whose territorial rights have been violated, but who call us to resistance, believing that we are human-birds-memory-nature, because there is always the possibility of resurgence and resistance.”

The next Venice Biennale will commence from April 20 to November 24, 2024.

Elsewhere, visit Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas “Dreamland” in San Antonio, Texas.

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