Giuliana Vidarte, Visions of Wisdom

Oral memory, traditional songs, myths, the knowledge of master plants, the wisdom of grandfathers and grandmothers, and stories of resource exploitation, violence, and the destruction of contemporary indigenous peoples’ ecosystems have been gathered and represented in the last decades by artists throughout the Americas. Some of them affirm their identity as indigenous artists and their role as spokespersons and activists for their communities, while others establish collaborative links with indigenous and mestizo collectives and develop research and exchanges to make issues common to the entire continent visible. Visions of Wisdom brings together a group of artistic practices that affirm the urgency of recovering spiritual and physical networks between humans, animals, and plants, as well as between different times periods and collective genealogies in order to integrate other modes of knowledge, new histories that lead to a renewal of human ways of life amid the current environmental crisis.

In this exhibition, the Amazonian forest in Perú, Brasil, and Venezuela, the Andes in Chile, and the valleys, lowlands, and plateaus in Mexico and the United States are spaces in which processes of learning, the coexistence of knowledge, and the struggle for autonomy and the defense ofcontemporary indigenous cultures and rights unfold. Through painting, embroidery, and audiovisual work, the exhibitionbrings together Shipibo-konibo, Nez Perce, Murui-bora, Huni kuin, Maya, Oglála Lakȟóta, and Yanomami wisdom. Memories of exchange and coexistence were broken by the violent intervention of extractivist and colonization projects in ecosystems throughout these territories. In the various artistic proposals, the constant presence of patterns, lines, and rhythms stands out. The patterns in these compositions establish interconnections from the lines of the roots to the trees, through the paths of the rivers and over the plains, towards the sky and the constellations that delineate the cosmic environment. Ancestral geometric designs evoke links and visions of belonging, routes that cross time and show how this knowledge unfolds between generations, interconnecting beings and elements.

These lines refer to vital networks and visions of wisdom and balance, which exist as diminished structures and broken rhythms today. Dead rivers, dead paths of reciprocity, protective spirits of plants and animals that will cease to exist. The human voices in Visions of Wisdom move from the animals to the roads and rivers, to the medicinal plants and their fruits, and are responsible for the recovery of that reciprocity: of the knowledge that is sustained by coexistence, listening, and generosity towards other beings. Possible futures will only be sustained by urgent vital transformations and exchanges. Visions of wisdom are visions of the future, of balance and possible coexistence. They appear here, crossing timelines interconnecting experiences to open up new ways of thinking about the human roles of the present and the transformation that will project the survival of the ecosystems shared by contemporary human societies.

Giuliana Vidarte, Visions of Wisdom