Indigenous leader and environmentalist Ailton Krenak. Photo: reproduction

Rained. And the rain brought joy to Ailton krenak in a moment that synthesized the speeches of the first table of the VI International Seminar ARTE!Brasileiros, which also featured Naiara Tukano and Antonio Donato Nobre.

Naiara opened the event with a song from her Yepá Mahsã people, from the top of the Rio Negro, in the Amazon, and a brief and forceful manifesto. “We, indigenous peoples, are the living memory of thousands of years, our visions and cosmovisions are our science, where we learn to communicate and live together with the earth. That's why we stand up for life and diversity,” she said in an excerpt of the initial message.

Indigenous leader and environmentalist Ailton Krenak. Photo: reproduction

After the speeches of institutional openings by Patricia Rousseaux, for the arte!brasileiros, and of Julian Fuchs, for Goethe Institute, Krenak would be the first to speak, but a connection problem postponed his testimony, luckily for those who attended the seminar.

Thanks to the connection problem, we ended up witnessing the first rain after months of drought in Aldeia Krenak, on the banks of the Rio Doce, in Minas Gerais, which was greeted by the joy and singing of the indigenous leader and former constituent deputy. As soon as the rain started, he turned on his computer to share the scene with those attending the seminar. “The most beautiful art is this rain that falls from the sky now, on top of these hills, making the earth breathe, falling on the dry land, causing a heat to rise from the ground”, he said excitedly.

Nothing was more in tune with this moment than the reasoning he developed about “this scandal of claiming that nature and culture exist, separating something indivisible”.

the ways of the heart

This inclusive vision had already been defended by Antonio Donato Nobre in his opening speech: “Indigenous people are the true sages of nature, they have a direct connection with nature and have preserved this connection, which global society has lost. I want to come here to give a message as a scientist, but from a scientist who is discovering the ways of the heart”.

Something in common in these three inaugural speeches was the need for affection and respect for the planet, which Nobre pointed out in a parallelism between the philosopher Socrates and the astronauts. “2500 years ago, Socrates would have said that when human beings look at the outside world, they will recognize its grandeur. People who live in contact with nature have a perception of what it means to be on Earth,” he said.

He then reported on how astronauts gain the same perception after returning from space: “When they see the Earth from outside, they are instantly transformed, they have the overview effect, which is the panorama effect suggested by Socrates.”

Thus, astronauts and indigenous people do not suffer from the distance from the planet, or a division that is replicated in the separation between mind and body. For the scientist, “there is a cognitive disaster in Western society, which occurred mainly in Europe, of the divorce between the so-called rational mind, where the intellect resides, and the broad, intuitive, holistic, integrative cognition”.

So, according to Nobre, it is necessary to stop thinking only with reason: “It is the heart that unites the whole body and it also thinks, because neuroscience has discovered that it has neurological tissues. So, when we have an open heart, we capture things. Heartless, intellect is cold, it can do aberrant things.” In his speech, he cited the scientists who contributed to Nazism as an example, but in today's Brazil there is no shortage of government cases that confirm the theory.

Be sure to watch the full speech (by clicking here) to see the short video shared by Donato, developed for a decade, which shows how the Amazon is the heart of the planet.


Naiara Tukano began her speech by talking about the cosmology of her people, who came from the great transformation canoe, the Cobra-Canoa. It was in the belly of a Canoe Cobra that the first ancestors of the Tukano people set out on an underwater journey along the Amazon, Negro and Uaupés rivers, in the northwest Amazon, and thus arrived in the region where they currently live, in the Upper Rio Negro. The canoe stopped along this route and, at each stop, these ancestors acquired powers and knowledge that are still part of the cultural heritage of the ethnic groups of the Tukano family.

Naiara told how, thousands of years before this trip, “we were fish people, until we became animals that live in the forests, like otters, monkeys; then the creator came and cut off the tails of the animals and brought man to earth, this being the third period of humanity, when man appeared”.

The meaning of this animal ancestry and this process of transformation over time has an important reflection on Tukano thought: “We must understand that other visible and invisible beings that live on Earth are our relatives, they tell us how to act without causing harm or harm. receive evil. That way, we never forget our place”, said Naiara.

Indigenous activist and artist Naiara Tukano. Photo: reproduction

Hence, the perception of the importance of caring for the planet globally, as she states: “When we break the flows of the Earth, we harm it, because it is a whole, it has its own conscience and we you can't cut it out like a mosaic like we're doing. For hundreds of years our shamans have warned us to take care of nature, we are nature.”

And he concludes on the importance of reviewing attitudes in times of a pandemic: “We need to reconnect with our essence, and through art, spirituality, corners, that we connect again with the earth. Plant, reduce garbage, seek a simpler way of life, seek other forms of exchange based on other wisdoms. It is through reconnecting with the earth that we can seek a path of healing. The breath of life exists in each of us.”

Dead nature

A little later than had been scheduled, Ailton Krenak entered the seminar questioning one of the genres of painting. “All the great painting masters of the West left some trail of still life behind them,” he said. And he continued: “Could they be foreshadowing a time when nature would rise, leave those screens and invade our lives in the form of a virus, in the form of affection, in the sense of turning us inside out, of calling us into question? , and denounce that there is no boundary between culture and nature, except in our mentalities, calling for a change of mentality”.

He would later explain that “as poets, these artists were foreshadowing what takes place in the 21st century; it's not a complaint, an accusation, but a revelation of what we were going to live a long time later”.

But he warned the art world: “It is as if the idea of ​​our art biennials, of our galleries, were all in the past, overcome by time, by the urgency of a new mentality, of us humans learning to step with carefully, to step gently on the Earth, deeply marked by our footprints, which put us on the threshold of that Anthropocene”.

It is more or less at this moment that the rain begins and the most poetic moment of the seminar. While he stated that “the sky will always give us the art of the possible”, a water truck passes by, as if remembering the destruction of the Rio Doce by Samarco five years ago, which made it necessary to supply it by vehicles traveling from 200 km to 300 km to supply the village with 130 families.

And Krenak concluded like Naiara: “When I questioned the division we make between nature and culture, it is a call for us to live more immersed in nature and in our own experience of the body being nature”.

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