Itu nai anya arimikane (A floresta é nosso futuro/ o nosso futuro/ o que nos faz crescer ; the forest is our future/that which makes us grow), 2021


Beads sewn onto the red fabric that makes up the skirts of women on feast days, 162 x 155 cm

Courtesy of the artists

AMITIKATXI is an acronym for the Articulação das Mulheres Indígenas Tiriyó, Katxuyana e Txikiyana (The Articulation of the Indigenous Tiriyó, Katxuyana e Txikiyana Women), organised by the Fundo de Artes e Artesanatos Wëriton Iyeripo. The women of the Tiriyó, Katxuyana e Txikiyana peoples (Tarëno and Pïrehno in their own languages) from the Tumucumaque indigenous land reserve in Pará state and their neighbours, the Kahyana, Katxuyana, Tunayana, Wayana and Aparai people, presented, in Ka’a Body, their first artwork: a woven tree of beads, sewn onto the red fabric that makes up the skirts of women on feast days.

Tëefaimë is a type of kapok (a large tree), whose wood is used to make a drum that is played with the feet when dancing during festivals. This was the tree chosen by these indigenous women to share their knowledge and worldviews with a wider audience. The pieces express the outlook each artisan has for the world around her: “Our knowledge comes from the Earth”. Colours, images, graphics, compositions that together weave the fabric of these women’s lives. Knowledge that they learned from their mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and that they pass on to their daughters, granddaughters, great-granddaughters, on a daily basis, while creating body adornments. Adorning the body is a fundamental action for the very existence of the body. In this sense, the appreciation that these women have for beads comes from time immemorial, but always brings with it the importance of exchanges and good relations for obtaining and circulating them. We can also see the forest in this way: full of exchanges and circulations.

The sewing of these various pieces expresses the collective nature of the Indigenous women’s knowledge, interspersing their views of the forest, its plant, animal and supernatural beings, with the care taken to embellish the bodies of relatives and friends. This panel is also a map of how tarëno and pïrehno women perceive life and relationships in the forest. These networks are expanding through the internet – the means by which women from various villages came together to compose this work, their first experience in contemporary art.