Past event

Amerindian art and craft in the face of climate change and environmental destruction free

In this workshop, Gliceria Tupinamba will speak about and demonstrate her work in recreating Tupinamba feather mantles, and their relation to environmental destruction and climate change.

Glicéria Tupinambř (Glicéria Jesus da Silva) lives in a region of Brazil once covered by the Atlantic Forest and participates actively in her people's fight to regain occupied land and reforest it. She is a well-known indigenous leader, teacher, intellectual and award-winning artist from the village of Serra do Padeiro, located in the Tupinambř de Olivença Indigenous Territory (southern Bahia, Northeastern Brazil).

Glicéria has also acted as an Indigenous representative within multiple spheres, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Currently, she is researching the contemporary efforts of the Tupinambř to recover their language and aspects of their material culture, intertwined with their struggle for land. More specifically, she investigates the connections between the remaining capes of scarlet ibis feathers produced by the Tupinambř during the 16th and 17th centuries -- all of which are kept in European museums -- the Old Tupi language and the production of contemporary capes.

Because of her relentless commitment to the advancement of indigenous rights and, more specifically, the recognition of the Tupinambř's land rights, Glicéria has been repeatedly threatened and criminalised. In 2010, returning from an official appointment during which she denounced the frequent episodes of police brutality against her people to the then President Luiz Inřcio Lula da Silva, she was arrested with her two-month-old baby. Their incarceration, which persisted for more than two months, was severely criticised by human rights organisations in Brazil and abroad.

This event is part of a series of activities around the topics of climate change and the environment post COP-26 and pre-COP 27 presented by three remarkable Amerindian women from Brazil who will be in St Andrews this autumn.

From Tuesday 6 to Tuesday 13 September, the activists and anthropologists will meet and engage with students, academics and members of the public through a lecture on the environment, climate crisis, land and gender in Brazilian Amazonia, a class in anthropology, a collaborative work of art with Scottish artists, and a workshop on the making of sacred feather mantles in the Tupinambř tradition. The women will also reach out to the political establishment in Scotland to speak about their concerns.

The project that supports their visit, sponsored by CAS (the Centre for Amerindian Studies) and the Department of Social Anthropology, aims to provide a platform to amplify indigenous women's voices on climate change and the environment. It is a development of the first phase of the project, an online exhibition of short films and photographs, which took place entirely online.

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