Screens Series: Zahy Guajajara


This exhibition continues the New Museum’s Screens Series, a platform for the presentation of new video works by emerging contemporary artists.

Cover Image:

Zahy Guajajara, Karaiw a’e wà (The Civilized), 2022 (still). Video, color, sound, 14:30. Commissioned by MAM-Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the exhibition “Nakoada: Strategies for Modern Art.” Courtesy the artist and Candombá

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Zahy Guajajara (b. 1989, Cana Brava, Maranhão, Brazil) is a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, actor, and activist from the Tentehar-Guajajara people. Interweaving dialogue in her first language, Ze’eng Eté—a dialect of the Tupi-Guarani trunk—and Portuguese, Guajajara’s video works examine contemporary indigenous identities and experiences amidst ongoing struggles for land rights and against ecological exploitation in the aftermath of colonial invasion.

Her performances for the camera, Pytuhem (2020) and Aiku’è zepé (I still r-exist) (2021), were made in collaboration with Mariana Villas-Bôas. They convey the artist’s (re)connection with nature and the assertion of indigenous peoples’ ancestral land claims in the context of targeted killings of members of the Guardians of the Forest, a group of Guajajaras in the state of Maranhão resisting the attempted occupation of their territory.

Tackling issues of hybridity, assimilation, autonomy, and techno-centric civilization, Guajajara’s Karaiw a’e wà (The Civilized) (2022) considers Indigenous Futurism as a methodology for countering the historical erasure of indigenous knowledge, technologies, and creative forms.

“Screen Series: Zahy Guajajara” is curated by Vivian Crockett, Curator.

About the Artist

Zahy Guajajara (b. 1989, Cana Brava, Maranhão, Brazil) lives and work between Rio de Janeiro and London. Her works have previously been shown in exhibitions including “Dja Guata Porã: Indigenous Rio de Janeiro” at Museu de Arte (MAR), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2017); “Nakoada: Strategies for Modern Art” at the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM-Rio), Rio de Janeiro (2022), and a recent solo presentation at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), São Paulo (2021). She has starred in Pedro Neves Marques’s “Vampires in Space” (Portuguese Pavilion, 59th Venice Biennale, 2022), Invisible City (Netflix, 2021-2022), Independências (Indepedences) (TV Cultura, 2022), Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) (TV Globo, 2017), and the full-length feature Não Devore Meu Coração (Don’t Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!) (2017). She is currently producing and co-directing a rereading of Macunaíma, the 1928 text by Mário de Andrade.

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