Black Mother
Espaço Chão
São Luís do Maranhão, Brazil
December 12, 2018 to February 9, 2019

Mãe Preta was shown at Espaço Chão, an independent arts space in the historical downtown of São Luís do Maranhão, in northern Brazil. The exhibition consisted of approximately 40 artworks with photography, mixed media, video, research material and a library open for public consultation. The exhibition collaborated with the restaurant Cozinha Ancestral in the same space during the exhibition period. During the exhibition, a learning team created and conducted guided tours, workshops, events and public mediation.

In São Luís, we engaged with quilombola, or maroon communities for a new artwork, Ways of Enchanting. Quilombos are originally communities of runaway slaves in the time of slavery, and which have persisted as a form of communalistic organization within certain Black communities ever since. The struggle for Black memory is strongly connected to the struggle for land and the respect for diverse ways of living in the Amazon region, which is continuously being threatened by large-scale mining and logging companies. Maranhão’s encantaria – rooted in an unique array of Afro-Brazilian social and religious practices that permeate all forms of local resistance – is embodied in the centuries-old knowledge of ‘enchanted’ midwives, who are responsible for both physical and spiritual healing in these communities.

Opening night