Anita Ekman and Amilcar Packer Wombs of the Atlantic Rainforest

Performance Ritual “Ocre –Pele e Pedra” (“Ochre—Skin and Rock”) by Anita Ekman with Sandra Nanayna Tariano,  Toca do Salitre (São Raimundo Nonato, Piauí, Brasil), 2019
Performance Ritual “Ocre –Pele e Pedra” (“Ochre—Skin and Rock”) by Anita Ekman with Sandra Nanayna Tariano, Toca do Salitre (São Raimundo Nonato, Piauí, Brasil), 2019 | Photo (detail): © Anita Ekman

“The Atlantic rainforest is not the Atlantic Rainforest. This forest was called Atlantic Rainforest because it is the name of the sea that the jurua (non-indigenous) created. For us the sea is the sea, whatever it is, the sea is salty, it is the same thing, it may be in a different place, but it is a single body. Pacific and Atlantic do not enter, there is no such thing. So, for Guarani's cosmology it is a bit like that ... for us, the Atlantic Rainforest, as my grandparents called it is Nhe’ery, where the souls bathe.”
– Carlos Papá Mirim in Conversa Selvagem by Cristine Takuá, Carlos Papá, Ailton Krenak
 

Drafting Before the Atlantic Rainforest

“The Earth is a living body,
She is Nhandecy eté, our mother.
When we walk on the earth
We are treading on a woman’s body.”
– Sandra Benites, Guarani Nhandeva

For us, the possibility of thinking before – understood simultaneously as prior and in front of – the Atlantic, crossing different cosmologies, histories and narratives, is what moves the creation of this ongoing experimental collective research organised under the title Wombs of the Atlantic Rain Forest. It manifests through the online platform and through the presentation of works in the form of exhibitions, public programmes and related material, from where we propose to contribute to a critical and poet(h)ical way to displace the centrality of colonial narratives. The importance of this movement is to face ​​a world organised by a dominant epistemological setting of world mattering, historical structures and events of systemic violence, through processes of racialisation and engendering people and social relations, which transforms the Earth and life into nature as resources available for extraction and profit. It is a movement to un- and re-map, un- and de-code, un- and re-frame, un- and re-scale territories, artistic practice and narratives, beyond the Atlantic transfiguration.
 
Wombs features implicated visions that articulates land and people, attempting to non-hegemonic epistemologies in order to emphasise the fundamental historical resilience of people, and in particular from Guarani communities, to experience the territory modernly produced as Atlantic Rainforest as a multilayered tensioned force field in motion, which since the early 16th century became one of the fundamental sites for the invention of colonial and capitalistic productive and economic relations for transatlantic exploitation. The Atlantic Rainforest configuration has been drastically affected to the present days where in Brazil around only 8 percent of the existing coverage previous to 1500’s is left. Research points to the colonial damage as the beginning of the global climate change and mass extinction. The extraction of natural resources from the Atlantic Rainforest is indissociable from the continuous subjection of racialised people and Indigenous land.
 
The trailer which is presented here constellates prehistoric cave paintings at the Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara, Piauí, Brazil, one of the oldest archeological sites of human presence on the continent known as South America, the coastal forest named after the Atlantic codes, and works from Cristine Takuá, Carlos Papa Mirim, Sandra Ara Reté Benites, Timóteo Verá Tupã Popyguá, Freg J. Stokes, Anita Ekman - with the project Ocre, counting, among others, with the participation of Sandra Nanayna Tariano, Niède Guidon, Gisele Daltrini Felice, Lídia Pankararu and Marcelo Noronha - and Amilcar Packer, resonating with historical migration and the fundamental role of women over time and in art, and with Guarani cosmovision, works of artists, intellectuals and healers, considering the imbrications of the Atlantic Rainforest within colonial-capitalist architectures and productive systems.
 

 

Wombs and Images of the Origins

Wombs of the Atlantic Rainforest proposes a kaleidoscopic dynamic that investigates through the concept of origin and gathers multiple narratives as from the Ore ypy rã (the beginning of everything or the Time of the Origin for the Guarani), the Ochre Project that states a singular thinking of the primordial times of art in the continent known as South America and the fundamental role of women within prehistoric and contemporary narratives.

The Hummingbird Atlas cross-pollinates the flowers of Guaraní studies with the flowers of other trees, such as environmental history, labour history, historical anthropology and critical cartography by drawing a series of maps of the historical of Guarani people after the invasion and the occupation of Indigenous land for several types of commodities from plantation and extraction from primary documents from archives in South America and Europe, along with reflections on these documents from Mbyá Guaraní writers and artists.

Poetry, texts, drawings, photography and videos compose this constellation of the research-platform rooted on cosmological non-dominant and counter-hegemonic imaginaries featuring singular ethical relationships between bodies and land, belonging and life.
  • Timóteo Verá Tupã Popyguá. Aldeia Takuary, Eldorado. SP. Photo: Edu Simões. Serie: Kaa ‘guy Porã, 2015.
    Timóteo Verá Tupã Popyguá. Aldeia Takuary, Eldorado. SP.
  • Map “South America 1750-1763” from Freg J. Stokes  The Hummingbird Atlas, 2021. Map “South America 1750-1763” from Freg J. Stokes The Hummingbird Atlas, 2021.
    Map “South America 1750-1763” from Freg J. Stokes The Hummingbird Atlas, 2021.
  • Anita Ekman, Performance Ritual “Ocre – Aborto da Vênus” Photograph by Edu Simões.
    Anita Ekman, Performance Ritual “Ocre – Aborto da Vênus” (“Ochre—The Abortion of Venus”), Toca do Inferno, Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara, Piauí, Brazil. May 2019.
  • Film stills from Amilcar Packer and Anita Ekman’s trailer for “Wombs_of_the_Atlantic” Film stills from Amilcar Packer and Anita Ekman’s trailer for “Wombs_of_the_Atlantic”
    Film stills from Amilcar Packer and Anita Ekman’s trailer for “Wombs_of_the_Atlantic”

Words of Nhé Ery

Drawing by Anita Ekman, 2019 Drawing by Anita Ekman, 2019 | Drawing: © Anita Ekman Poems by Cristine Takuá
English translations by Ana Luiza Albuquerque and Fareda Khan

KA’A
Na força da sagrada Ka’a
Em meio a noite estrelada
Me senti esverdear
Amanhecendo sentindo
Seu suave aroma
E sua energia
Que nos preenche
Nos fortalece
E alegra o coração.
Porã ete Aguyjevete
 
 
KA’A
On the sacred force of Ka’a
Under the starry night
I felt myself going green
Dawning and feeling
Your gentle scent
And your energy
Which fill us up
Strengthen us
And brings joy to the heart
Porã ete Aguyjevete
 
Note on translation: In Guarani, KA’A means Mate plant.
 
 
MUDAR DE HÁBITOS, JÁ!
A floresta queima
O agronegócio
A fissura humana
Pela ordem e progresso
Segue dilacerando
Os seres numa
Velocidade alucinante
Mas a floresta segue
Pulsando, resistindo
E se transformando
Os espíritos todos
Donos dos seres
Yãmîy, yuxibu, ija kuery
Estão bravos
Furiosos com essa estúpida mania
Humana de superioridade
De razão
De falta de bom senso
Acordai vos humanos,
Ditos pensantes!
Donde habita vossa “humanidade”?
Onde está a Ética nessa
Demasiada razão
Que julgam possuir????
Mudar de hábitos já!
Por amor a vida dos seres todos!
 

CHANGE HABITS, NOW!
The forest burns
The agribusiness
The human fissure
For order and progress
Continues tearing apart
The beings at
Breakneck speed
But the forest remains
Pulsing, resisting
And transforming
All the spirits
Owners of beings
YãmÎy, yuxibu, ija kuery
Are crossed
Furious with the stupid
Human craze of superiority
Of reason
Of lacking judgement
Wake up, thou, humans,
So-called rational!
Where does thy “humanity” lay?
Where is the Ethics on this
Exceeding reason
You claim to possess????
Change habits now!
Out of love for all beings!
 
Note on translation: The words Yãmîy (Maxacali), yuxibu (Huni Kuin/Kashinawá), ija kuery (Guarani) have a similar usage and meaning which stands for spiritual beings of the forest, spirits/beings that are the guides, protectors that take care of a space, place, being like a rock or a river.

 
A CHEGADA DO ARA PYAU
Em meio a noite escura
Mergulhados no silêncio
das palavras não ditas
Os seres ditos racionais
Se perderam em meio a humanidade
que sonharam e planejaram Ser.
Todos se viram reféns do capital
Que movia seus anseios
E forçadamente foram obrigados
A reaprender a caminhar!
Uns sentem que o mundo
esta por acabar
Outros sentem o céu desabar
Em suas cabeças
Mas na verdade tudo está
refletindo a ânsia de Ter!
Consumo, poluição, egoísmo!
Ser humano falhou em sua humanidade!
Ara Yma nos mostrou
Muitas coisas em seu
silêncio e resguardo
E com a chegada do Ara Pyau
Buscamos nos fortalecer
E reaprender a sensibilidade
De aquietar os pensamentos
E sentir mais
Para tentar voltar
a Ser verdadeiramente
Uma pequena partícula
Dessa grande Teia
Que rege a vida.
Aguyjevete
 

THE ARRIVAL OF ARA PYAU
On the dark night
Plunged in silence
The unsaid words
Of the so-called rational beings
Are lost among the humanity
They dreamed and planned on Being.
All became hostages of capital
Who moved their yearnings
Forcibly were driven
To learn again how to walk!
Some feel that the world
Is about to end
Others feel the sky come down
Over their heads
But in reality, all is
Reflecting the wish of Having!
Consumption, pollution, egoism!
The human being failed in its humanity!
Ara Yma showed us
Many things in its
Silence and safeguarding
And with the arrival of Ara Pyau
We seek to strengthen
And to learn again sensibility
Of silencing the thoughts
And feeling more
In an attempt to return
A Being trully
A small particle
Of this large Web
That conducts life.
Aguyjevete.
 
Note on translation: The Guarani words Ara Pyau and Ara Yma are time divisions. Ara Pyau stands for the new time, warm, the time for seeding, cultivating, and collecting, while Ara Yma stands for the old time, cold, time for silencing.