Indios. Guardians of the forest
Cultural event with exhibition of the works of Magaly Arocha Rivas
Curated by Irene Fontana
Indios. Guardians of the Forest is the Bolognese cultural event inaugurated on the occasion of Indigenous Resistance Day on 12 October 2023 in the spaces of the rooom. The event was born with the aim of disseminating and denouncing the injustices suffered by the indigenous populations of the Amazon starting from that 12 October 1492, when Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas or, more likely, when the colonization of the South American territories began and the consequent exploitation of its inhabitants. Guaraní, Yanomami, Pataxó, Warao, Sem Terra, Xakriabá, they are just some of the indigenous populations who still live today in the largest rainforest in the world: they bear different names, but they all retain a strong connection with their land and with nature. The works of Magaly Arocha Rivas, on display from 12 to 20 October, are a tribute to these peoples: the artist in fact brings indigenous culture and traditions into painting, also highlighting episodes of missed freedoms and unrecognized rights, exoduses and childhoods violated. Through dense and full-bodied colours, it tells stories of pure love towards a home to be protected: women and children are present not as fragile and willless subjects, but as bearers of strength and pride, inhabitants of a place where biodiversity should be safeguarded: in short, true guardians of the forest.
It might seem like a convenient choice to narrate the humanitarian and climate crisis present in the Amazon through the looks and gestures of the indigenous children, protagonists of the pictorial series Exodus, yet it is not compassion that Arocha Rivas wants to convey with his works, but rather compassion reality of the facts, together with the beauty of human imperfections, all mediated through the innocence and genuineness of those who, despite suffering, do not fail to seek the game and walk their own path with respect for all living beings. Debilitated by the illnesses and difficulties caused by those who today deface the Amazon, but proud and aware of the wealth that surrounds them and which they have already been losing for some time.
In the installation, the canvases hung on strings with common clothes pegs recall the delicacy of the simplest daily actions, such as hanging out clothes in the wind, a wind which however does not animate the exhibition room: the portraits remain motionless awaiting freedom and vitality, seeking approval and rights that were long unrecognized.
Find out more on the rooom website: https://www.therooom.it/indios-guardiani-della-foresta/
Photo credit: Ash Gray Film Production, https://ashgrayfilm.it/