“It is no longer worth seeing the hammocks as a space of rest and decoration. There is need to admire its representation and to understand that materiality is the proof of the Amerindian resistance. That behind beauty and form there are pockets of resistance. That weaving or creating from them is art, is activism. It’s activity. It’s survival. It is to be”, says Naine Terena in the catalog of the exposition Vaivém, seen until July in the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in São Paulo and, now in September, being opened in the bank’s headquarters of Brasilia, following then to Rio and Belo Horizonte.
Vaivém is the kind of show that goes beyond the field of art to deal with the culture in a broader way, and there is its greatest value.
More than simply to present sequentially several representations of one of the most typical objects of Brazilian culture, the exhibition curated by Raphael Fonseca presents several aspects of the meanings of the hammocks, as Naine points out in the citation above, going far beyond the cliché of the laziness demarcated by colonialism.
This is made clear at the first room of the show, when the importance of the production of the artifact of indigenous origin in the northeast is contextualized, more specifically in São Bento, Paraíba, where there are produced no less than 12 million hammocks/year. The numbers there already make it clear that the impact of trade goes beyond the stereotype that one can have. The city internet portal has an immense network to mark position.
Thus, the show follows in a succession of somewhat surprising narratives along six modules, which address from the different forms of representation of hammock, either in Brazilian modernism, or in the comics of Walt Disney with Zé Carioca, until its function of Identity generator, as well Naine Terena points out in relation to indigenous peoples.
It comes from them, incidentally, some of the most powerful images of the show, most of them commissioned by the curator, among them produced by Yermollay Caripoune, Alzelina Luiza, Carmézia Emiliano and Jaider Esbell, among others. In the catalogue, Clarissa Diniz cites a speech by Esbell, which points in an exact way why the show achieves high political voltage: “There is no way to discuss decolonization without entering the doors of the cosmovisions of the originating peoples”.
There is a huge curatorial success, after all, even if contemporary artists have appropriated the hammock in their works, from Hélio Oiticica to Tunga, from Paulo Nazareth to OPAVIVARÁ – all present in the show, it is in the indigenous context that it gains character of anti-hegemonic manifesto.
The exhibition is still generous in presenting the various representations of the hammock over the centuries, whether in the traveling artists in the time of the monarchy of Brazil, or for its critical revision, so well performed by Denilson Baniwa.
The exhibition is undoubtedly audacious, by presenting more than 300 works of 140 artists, in a period of five centuries, from the 16th to the present. However, its focus is accurate, and pass through it is an effective experience.
It is essential to remember that the exposition is the result of a doctorate conducted by the curator over five years, therefore a research of breath, which materializes in the exhibition space adequately and really as an experience, that to say , it is not a transposition of a thesis. In times of questioning of science and the academy, Vaivém also functions to point out how the university environment is essential for the reflection of Brazilian culture, as well as capable of transpose the academic environment to a powerful dialogue with society.