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Véxoa: Reception & Artist Program

About the Event


Sep 20, 2023, 6 – 8pm



Tufts University Art Galleries are excited to celebrate Véxoa: We Know. Originally organized for the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in 2020, Véxoa was the first exhibition curated by an Indigenous person to be shown in an art museum in Brazil. Tufts University Art Galleries welcome these artists and collectives in collaboratively rewriting an art history that recognizes diversity among Indigenous peoples, the power of self-representation, and a pluralist perspective on artistic production in Brazil and the world beyond.

The reception will start with a discussion of the show and the central topics that bridge its travel from Brazil to Medford featuring co-curator Claudia Mattos Avolese, Senior Lecturer at SMFA at Tufts University and participating artists Denilson Baniwa and Daiara Tukano. This program will be presented in English and Portuguese. Please click here to register.

Denilson Baniwa (Rio Negro, Amazonas, 1984) is an Indigenous artist and cultural producer born in the Darí village, in the Baturité-Barreira community in the state of Amazonas. His practice draws and reflects upon the cultural, material, and aesthetic practices of his community while, at the same time, questioning the role of contemporary Indigenous aesthetic manifestations and their role in local and global discourses. Baniwa works at the intersection of performance, visual arts, and installation, speaking to resistance, resilience, and continuity and calling out the violence erasure of Indigenous memory and history. He recently participated in the 22nd Sydney Biennale NIRIN with a series of photographs and performances that presented Yawareté—the strongest and wisest shaman of the Baniwa people.

Daiara Tukano (traditional name Duhigô) belongs to the Uremiri Hãusiro Parameri clan of the Yepá Mahsã people, better known as the Tukano. Born in São Paulo in 1982, Daiara is an artist, independent content producer, Indigenous rights activist and human rights researcher. Her artistic work is based on research about the traditional spirituality of her people, particularly through the study of Hori, which are the visions produced by kahpi (ayahuasca). Daiara has dedicated herself to understanding the visions that come to her in dreams and in the studies that she makes together with her family. She also looks at the paintings found on the traditional objects of her culture, weft of the baskets, in the ceramics, in the benches, in the body painting, which alludes to the same story of transformation that is the Tukano history of humanity. The artist therefore articulates an investigation into the culture of her people in experiments with forms and light, trying to understand the density of their vibrations, as well as the way they touch us on different levels. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and a master’s degree in Human Rights from the University of Brasília (UnB). She was the coordinator of Rádio Yandê, the first indigenous web-radio in Brazil from 2015 to 2021. In 2020, Daiara presented the solo project “Pameri Yukese” in the 20th edition of the Programme of Exhibitions of São Paulo Cultural Centre (CCSP). She was an invited artist at the 34th São Paulo Biennale and the show “Moquém_Surarî: arte indígena contemporânea” (Moquém Surarî: contemporary Indigenous art), which opened in September 2021 at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM). Tukano won the 2021 PIPA Online Award, organized by the PIPA Institute as the most relevant Brazilian visual arts award.

Claudia Mattos Avolese is a Senior Lecturer in Visual and Material Studies at the SMFA at Tufts. A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Claudia Mattos Avolese obtained her PhD in art history from the Free University in Berlin, Germany, and was an associate fellow at the Courtauld Institute in London for a year. Her principal areas of interest are visual culture in Brazil, indigenous art, material culture, global art history and theory. Her recent research focuses on indigenous arts in Brazil, the imaginary of the forest and ecology. She has published widely on global exchanges in the 19th century, including scientific expeditions by explorers to Brazil, and the creation and development of art academies in South America.