Deep Marajó: Contemporary Marajoara Ceramics
Deep Marajó: Contemporary Marajoara Ceramics
Deep Marajó showcases contemporary ceramics from three artist collectives—Arte Mangue Marajó, Instituição Caruanas, and Replicando o Passado—along with photographs by artist Anita Ekman.
The exhibition displays the work of artists who live in and interact with the Marajó archipelago, located in the mouth of the Amazon River. The largest fluvio-maritime archipelago on the planet, Marajó is characterized by its rich biodiversity and is home to several communities from different cultural heritages, including Indigenous peoples and quilombolas (descendants from Afro-Brazilians who resisted enslavement).
The artworks in the exhibition dialogue with the traditional ceramic techniques found in the region, which have been practiced for more than three thousand years by Indigenous groups. Some of these works bring together Amazonian myths and oral histories from the different communities that live in the region, while others recreate archeological pieces as an effort to preserve the region’s artistic cultural traditions.
About the artist and collectives
Arte Mangue Marajó: Founded in 2003 by Ronaldo Guedes and Cilene Andrade, the workshop Arte Mangue Marajó is a collective space for ceramists in the region to create work, research, and experiment with traditional methods of ceramic production. With this work, the space fulfills an educational role in disseminating Marajoara art and culture for a community that lacked access to its own ancestral history. The workshop functions alongside the Pacoval neighborhood association, which serves the community with environmental education, including the promotion of sustainable extractivist practices in the mangrove region. Ronaldo Guedes’s ceramics merge painting techniques from ancient Indigenous ceramics with oral histories from the extractivist communities in the region.
Instituição Caruanas was founded in 2011 by the educator Josie Lima as an educational project with the goal of disseminating the history and artistic practices of Indigenous groups that lived in the region for thousands of years. Focusing on Marajoara ceramics to tell these histories for the community, the project expanded its reach to local schools, serving children and training teachers. Inspired by the shapes and graphics of traditional Marajoara works, specifically tangas (pubic coverings for women), these two works are necklaces meant to be worn as jewelry. Replicando o Passado The collective
Replicando o Passado (Replicating the Past) brings together researchers and ceramic artists from Icoaraci in Belém who are dedicated to studying and reproducing archaeological pieces from the Goeldi Museum. The group was formed with the goal of disseminating the archeological collection of the museum while fostering the ceramic practice within the community. Based on the study of archaeological objects, these handmade replicas shed light on the millennial Indigenous tradition of Amazonian ceramic art merged with contemporary artistic practices. These pieces then become part of museum collections around the world, to be used for educational and accessibility purposes.
Members of the collective include: Lídia Abrahim, Deo Almeida, Cristiana Barreto, Stefano Cúnico, Helena Lima, Leonardo Lopes, Josué Pereira, Marcelle Rolim, João Sarmento, and Marivaldo Sena
Anita Ekman: In her photographs, Anita Ekman performatively interacts with Marajoara archeological ceramic objects in the collections of museums—the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi and the Ethnological Museum of Berlin (Humboldt Forum), among others—that house a vast number of these pieces. Juxtaposing the female body—her own or other women’s—with these objects, the artist creates a link between past and present, while emphasizing the role of the female form and biological functions such as pregnancy and breastfeeding in these ancient sculptures.
Presented in Americas Society’s library and archives exhibition space, Deep Marajó is organized in partnership with the Goeldi Museum (Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi) in Belém, Para, Brazil, with support from the Consulate General of Brazil in New York.
The exhibition will be on display from January 25 to May 20, 2023.
Americas Society acknowledges the generous support from the Arts of the Americas Circle members: Estrellita B. Brodsky, Virginia Cowles Schroth, Emily A. Engel, Diana Fane, Galeria Almeida e Dale, Isabella Hutchinson, Carolina Jannicelli, Vivian Pfeiffer, Phillips, Gabriela Pérez Rocchietti, Erica Roberts, Sharon Schultz, Diana López and Herman Sifontes, and Edward J. Sullivan.