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04.08.2014 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Ashaninka Exhibition celebrates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

© Museu do Índio

Museu do Índio (Indigenous Peoples Museum), in partnership with UNESCO in Brazil, organize the exhibition “Ashaninka – the Power of Beauty”, opening on 9 August, at Museu do Índio, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The fourth edition of the Museum’s Indigenous Peoples Programme is dedicated to the Ashaninka people, who inhabits the border region between Brazil (Acre State) and Peru.

The Ashaninka exhibition, “The Power of Beauty” reveals through myths, photos and objects the use of rituals and everyday life of two major axes in which the cosmos vision of the Ashaninka people is based on: the search for immortality and the fragility of love.

Besides de exhibition, the general public will have the opportunity to talk to some members of the Ashaninka people, from 9 to 10 August, at 4 p.m. They will be at the Museum to talk about their traditions and the way of living in their villages.

The exhibition

Taking showers and painting their faces first thing in the morning are mandatory rituals of the Ashaninkas. This aesthetical dedication is a strongly present tradition in their everyday life is shown in the pictures of the exhibition. The images show the Ashaninka’s body art potential and their body preparation to fight in wars and to seduce.

Hats, stamps and drawings are also included in the show, in addition to body ornaments and clothes, such as Kitarentse – a long gown that connects the body with the cosmos - and Txoxiki – long neckless made of seeds. Each line drawn, tattooed or weaved is a connection with the myths and the social life of the Ashaninkas.

In the spaces of the Museum the visitor finds on ethnographic and photographic exhibitions all the richness of body art and all the power of beauty manifested in the universe of ethnicity. Going through the exhibitions, the visitor will be able to understand the meaning of art in the way of life of these people. Direct partnership with indigenous peoples is one of the priorities of this initiative, which has the objective of documenting and disseminating the indigenous material culture. Curation is signed by researchers Peter Beysen and Sonja Ferson.

The Ashaninkas

Today, the Ashaninkas occupy the border region between Brazil and Peru. They sum approximately 70 thousand people, and the majority live in villages of Peruvian territory. In Brazil, the villages are located near the rivers Envira, Amonia and Riozinho, in Acre State. Their language belongs to the linguistic family Aruak (or Arawak) and they are the main componente of the sub-Andean Aruak set together with the Matsiguenga, Nomatsiguenga and Yanesha (or Amuesha). Although there are dialect differences, the Ashaninkas present great cultural and linguistic homogeneity.

The partnership between FUNAI/Museu do Índio and UNESCO

The concern with the threats against the extraordinary linguistic and cultural diversity that exists in Brazil, especially in the Amazon – which requires immediate and collective preserving efforts – have led UNESCO and FUNAI/Museu do Índio to establish a partnership for the development of the Project on Documentation of Languages and Cultures of Brazilian Indigenous Peoples in 2008.

The international technical cooperation project between UNESCO and FUNAI/ Museu do Índio, with closing scheduled for June 2015, has promoted the documentation of endangered languages and cultures of 20 indigenous peoples, as well as the preservation of existing individual collections, which broadens the possibilities for safeguarding and consolidates this new knowledge area in Brazil. The project has also trained new generations of researchers and specialists in the area of documentation– core preconditions for the preservation of diversity.

Among the results obtained by the Project it is highlighted the organization of more than 300 workshops and documentation activities from December de 2008 to June 2014 − 212 of the workshops were developed in indigenous villages and 96 in the Museum facilities. The workshops were on familiarization, training and capacity building of documentation methods and techniques. 40 non-indigenous researchers and 200 indigenous researchers participated in the workshops. The works also had the participation of other 180 community collaborators.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

UNESCO celebrates worldwide the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August as a way to promote the rights of the indigenous peoples, as well as to acknowledge their contribution the culture and the sustainable development.  In her message on the occasion of the 2014 International Day, the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, recalls the date as an opportunity for mobilization of all in order to end the still existing inequality of effective fulfilment of indigenous peoples’ rights.  “This is essential today and tomorrow, as we shape the new post-2015 development agenda”, affirms Bokova.

More information to the press:
Museu do Índio
Comunicação Social/Serviço de Gabinete
(21) 3214-8705
Rua das Palmeiras 55 - Botafogo - Rio de Janeiro - RJ – Brasil - CEP 22270-070

UNESCO in Brasil
Ana Lúcia Guimarães - a.guimaraes(at)unesco.org - (61) 2106-3536
Isabel de Paula - i.paula(at)unesco.org - (61) 2106-3543
www.facebook.com/unescobrasil; www.twitter.com/unescobrasil; www.youtube.com/unescoportuguese

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