We
Are Walking Birds
Glicéria Tupinambá and Tupinambá Community of Serra do Padeiro, Okará Assojaba, 2024 © Rafa Jacinto / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
Glicéria Tupinambá and Tupinambá Community of Serra do Padeiro
Okará Assojaba, 2024
Installation using tarrafa nets, feather mantles, and letters

How to lead a Tupinambá society? How to decide on issues of territorial expansion? How to lead the planting of food and crops? How to create strategies for struggle or war? What are the community’s urgent needs? For the Tupinambá of Serra do Padeiro, Bahia, an Okará, or listening assembly, must be created to discuss these and other issues. This work brings together the leaders who carry the mantles: six women, four chiefs, and three shamans, thus forming an installation with thirteen parts that make up a Tupinambá listening council. The Okará is led by a mantle made communally in 2024 out of the village of Serra do Padeiro, with partners and supporters from the artist’s network of relationships. The listening is expanded with the Assojaba’s visit to the Okará, a moving mantle that was also produced by Glicéria’s hands with bird feathers from her territory, and which has acted as a diplomat in institutions in Brazil and around the world.

In Okará Assojaba, Glicéria Tupinambá, together with the Associação dos Índios Tupinambá da Serra do Padeiro, sent letters to the institutions she visited as part of her research into listening to the material and ancestral culture of her people held in places such as the Museum der Kulturen Basel (Basel), Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire (Brussels) and Musée du quai Branly (Paris). More recently, in 2024, she carried out listening sessions with the ancestors of the Ambrosiana – Pinacoteca Milano (Milan) and the Museo di Antropologia ed Etnografia (Florence). The letters seek access to a history that has been displaced and which belongs to a historical context of relations between the memories of the Tupinambá nations that are distributed throughout Europe.

The meetings with the ancestors in these institutions allowed the artist to realize that the mantle is still present in the community’s work. As a result, she understood her mission was to continue this ancient technique. The dialogues established between the mantles and the artist have also made it possible for a mantle held by the National Museum of Denmark (Copenhagen) since 1644 to return to Brazil later this year.

Assistant and lawyer Jessica Silva de Quadros
Producer Olga Torres
Videos – editing and finishing Malassombro AV (Method_av); images Jovens Atã, Method_av, Erick Lawrence, Magno Tupinambá
Sound designer Aghata

Glicéria Tupinambá, Atã Tupinambá Group and Tupinambá Community of Serra do Padeiro, Dobra do tempo infinito [Fold of Infinite Time], 2024 © Rafa Jacinto / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
Glicéria Tupinambá, Atã Tupinambá Group, Tupinambá Community of Serra do Padeiro
Dobra do tempo infinito [Fold of Infinite Time], 2024
Video installation using images from workshops with the communities of Serra do Padeiro and Olivença, seeds, leaves, soil, fishing nets, jereré, and samburá

Trawl nets, jererés, and tarrafas are tools used for fishing and eating. For the Tupinambá of Serra do Padeiro, these nets made from nylon thread are connected to the weaving techniques of their people’s traditional clothing. Crossing the stitches of fishing nets and clothing bends time, connects the past and the present, unites generations, and strengthens traditional knowledge. This seemingly distant time actually places us in the present, beyond the timed, deadlines, and expiry dates. It places us in the time of the Indigenous peoples. In this work, Glicéria mobilized the communities of Serra do Padeiro and Olivença through workshops developed by masters for the production of canoes, fishing nets, net-weaving needles, and meetings for fishing with trawls and tarrafas. The audiovisual recordings were made by young people from the Grupo Atã Tupinambá in collaboration with Augusto Santos (Method_av). Glicéria brought together the masters of her community to dialogue with young people, adding another point to the Fold of Infinite Time.

Assistant and lawyer Jessica Silva de Quadros
Producer Olga Torres
Videos – editing and finishing Malassombro AV (Method_av)
Images Jovens Atã, Method_av, Erick Lawrence, Magno Tupinambá
Sound designer Aghata

Ziel Karapotó and Karapotó Terra Nova Community, Cardume [School of Fish], 2023–2024 © Rafa Jacinto / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
Ziel Karapotó, Karapotó Terra Nova Community
Cardume [School of Fish], 2023–2024
Installation composed of tarrafas, maracás, ammunition rounds, and a soundscape

The installation evokes the struggle for territories in the face of the processes of genocide, epistemicide, and ecocide that have taken place over the last 523 years in Brazil. Cardume is a metaphor for Indigenous resistance, those who have been made foreigners in their territories of origin, but above all the work addresses Indigenous resistance through the celebration of life with the chanting of torés to consolidate spirituality, and the fishing nets that represent the currents of rivers, seas, and fish. There are four elements to the work: schools of maracás (a spiritual instrument of Indigenous peoples), schools of ammunition rounds for fire guns, two tarrafas (fishing nets produced together with the artist’s family members) and a soundscape that unites the sounds of rivers, torés (traditional chants), and gunfire.

Assistant / collaborators Elvira Pereira dos Santos, Elenildo Suanã, Grupo de Toré Nhurae Badzé Karapotó Terra Nova, Leandro Gustavo Nascimento da Silva
Sound Ziel Karapotó
Editing and finishing Ziel Karapotó
Sound recording Chico Torres, Fabio Cassiano, Janderson Felipe
Sound design Ziel Karapotó

 

Olinda Tupinambá and Pataxó Hãhãhãe Community – Caramuru Paraguaçu Indigenous Land, Equilíbrio [Balance], 2020–2024 © Rafa Jacinto / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
Olinda Tupinambá, Pataxó Hãhãhãe Community – Caramuru Paraguaçu Indigenous Land
Equilíbrio [Balance], 2020–2024
Video installation composed of soil and seeds

Through the Kaapora Project (2016), Olinda Tupinambá and Samuel Wanderley propose actions of reforestation, activism, education, Indigenous cinema, and food sovereignty for the Caramuru Indigenous Land. The short film portrays the human condition on planet Earth – which represents the mother of humanity, the same that generates life and that will one day take it back and once again transform that energy into food for other beings. This is the balance that allows species to exist. Taking care of this planet by interacting respectfully with other living beings is one of the ways we can truly become civilized. The words of Kaapora, an Indigenous spiritual entity, guide the critical discussion of our civilization’s destructive relationship with the only planet that supports life, and on which we ourselves depend to continue our existence as a species. The work is a warning from the spirit of the forests to humanity and our relationship with the planet.

Assistant Samuel Wanderley
Producer Olinda Tupinambá
Vídeos – editing and finishing Olinda Tupinambá, Samuel Wanderley
Images Samuel Wanderley
Sound Designer Samuel Wanderley