Drafting Before the Atlantic Rainforest


The Atlantic rainforest is not the Atlantic Rainforest. This forest was called Atlantic Forest because it is the name of the sea that the jurua (non-indigenous) created. For us the sea is the sea, whatever it is, the sea is salty, it is the same thing, it may be in a different place, but it is a single body. Pacific and Atlantic do not enter, there is no such thing. So, for Guarani's cosmology it is a bit like that... for us, the Atlantic Rain Forest, as my grandparents called it is Nhe’ery, where the souls bathe.

- Carlos Papa Mirim – “Conversa Selvagem - Cristine Takuá, Carlos Papá e Ailton Krenak” *


We have been working on the possibility of retelling the story of Nhe’ery, the power of that desire to retell the ancestral history of the sacred Nhe’ery. Because many are unaware of what really happened here. So, this idea of ​​bringing up this dialogue about Nhe’ery is the idea of ​​reconnecting with this ancestral message from these spaces.

- Cristine Takuá - “Conversa Selvagem - Cristine Takuá, Carlos Papá e Ailton Krenak” *


Within this region*, up to 9,000 years ago, at the top of the plateau was the Amazon rainforest and here, on the plain, the Atlantic rainforest. At that time, there were two very rich contiguous biomes with a very different fauna and flora, so we said: we need to keep this and then we managed to create the Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara in 1979.

- Niède Guidon in an interview to Anita Ekman, 2019



For us, the possibility of thinking before -understood simultaneously as prior and in front of- the Atlantic, crossing different cosmologies, histories and narratives, is what moves the creation of this ongoing experimental collective research organized under the title “Wombs of the Atlantic Rain Forest”. It manifests through the online platform http://wombsoftheatlanticrainforest.org/ and through the presentation of works in the form of exhibitions, public programs and related material, from where we propose to contribute to a critical and poet(h)ical way to displace the centrality of colonial narratives. The importance of this movement is to face ​​a world organized through by dominant epistemological setting of world mattering, historical structures and events of systemic violence, through processes of racialization and engendering people and social relations, which transforms the Earth and life into nature as resources available for extraction and profit. It is a movement to un- and re-map, un- and de-code, un- and re-frame, un- and re-scale, territories, artistic practice and narratives, beyond the Atlantic transfiguration.


Wombs features implicated visions that articulates land and people, attempting to non-hegemonic epistemologies in order to emphasize the fundamental historical resilience of people, and in particular from Guarani communities, to experience the territory modernly produced as Atlantic Rainforest as a multilayered tensioned force field in motion, which since the early XVI century became one of the fundamental sites for the invention of colonial and capitalistic productive and economic relations for transatlantic exploitation. The Forest configuration has been drastically affected to the present days where in Brazil around only 8% of the existing coverage previous to 1500’s is left. Several research point to the colonial damage as the beginning of the global climate change and mass extinction. The extraction of natural resources from the Atlantic Rainforest is indissociable from the continuous subjection of racialized people and indigenous land.


The trailer which is presented here constellates prehistoric cave paintings at the Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara, Piauí, Brazil, one of the oldest archeological sites of human presence in the continent known as South America, the coastal forest named after the Atlantic codes, and works from Cristine Takuá, Carlos Papa Mirim, Sandra Ara Reté Benites, Timóteo Verá Tupã Popyguá, Freg J. Stokes, Anita Ekman (with the project Ocre, counting, among others, with the participation of Sandra Tariano Nanayna, Niède Guidon, Gisele Daltrini Felice, Lídia Pankararu and Marcelo Noronha) and Amilcar Packer, resonating with historical migration and the fundamental role of women over time, and with Guarani cosmovision, works of artists, intellectuals and healers, considering the imbrications of the Atlantic Rainforest within colonial-capitalist architectures and productive systems.

Anita Ekman & Amicar Packer



* “Conversa Selvagem - Cristine Takuá, Carlos Papá e Ailton Krenak”, 7th April 2021, Live interview (in Portuguese): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znGTLLXAxpI)

** The region where the Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara is located, in the State o Piauí, Brazil, is today a typology called Caatinga (from Tupi language, white forest), the third biome in Brazil in terms of diversity, and is also endangered of disappearance.