Opening event. Lunch Talk by Charles Bicalho. John Hope Franklin Center, 130. Monday, October 21. Noon-1:30pm

In the oral tradition of the Maxakali people, an impoverished indigenous group located in the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil, women occupy a special place. This exhibit shares the work of a group of Maxakali youth that along with filmmaker, designer, and researcher Charles Bicalho developed a script based on research on this indigenous oral tradition. The illustrations for the film, some of which are present here, were made in a series of workshops at Aldeia Verde (Green Village), in the heart of Maxakali territory (there are less than fifteen-hundred speakers of the language) in the municipality of Ladainha, in Minas Gerais. The story is told from the perspective of Mãtãnãg (in the voice of Shawara Maxakali, co-director of the film), an enchanted woman that was able to return from the dead to tell the stories of the forces that govern the supernatural world. The film’s animations were directed by Jackson Abacatu, a young artist, filmmaker and musician, trained in animation and sculpture at the Fine Arts Department of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Charles Bicalho is a filmmaker, designer, media producer, and researcher working within indigenous Brazilian communities. His work has focused on recovering stories of the Maxakali communities in Brazil. In the fashion of participatory research-action and visual anthropology the work of Bicalho offers a direct insight into the life of communities on the edge of cultural annihilation.

Curated by Jason Doty, Charles Bicalho, and Miguel Rojas-Sotelo

Language plays a crucial role in the daily lives of people, not only as a tool for communication, education, and social integration, but also as a repository for each person’s unique identity, cultural history, traditions, and memory. However, languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate, as part of the so-called seventh extinction in which the diversity of the planet is at stake. The United Nations declared 2019 the Year of Indigenous Languages in order to raise awareness of them, not only to benefit the people that speak these languages but to recognize that the world’s diversity lives also in the many different ways we describe and name it.

This exhibit celebrates such diversity.

To know more about United Nation’s actions to conserve languages visit: https://en.iyil2019.org/#

Organized by the 2019 North Carolina Latin American Film Festival, the Duke Brazil Initiative, and the John Hope Franklin Center which also recognize how indigenous languages make the world a better place.

Synopsis of the film:

Mãtãnãg: The Enchanted Woman. Directors: Shawara Maxakali and Charles Bicalho. Brazil. 2019. 12 minutes 50 seconds

Mãtãnãg is an indigenous woman who follows the spirit of her husband, killed by a snake, to the village of the dead. Together they overcome the obstacles that separate the earthly world from the spirit world. Once in the land of the spirits, things are different: other forces govern the supernatural. But Mãtãnãg is not dead and her soul must return to the living world. Back in the village, reunited with their relatives, new vicissitudes during a ritual will provide the opportunity for the living and the dead to reconnect once again…

Copyright 2020 | The Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University