This story excerpt was translated from Spanish. To read the original story in full, visit Revista Nómadas. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.
One Planet spoke with a teacher and artisan who created a project that offers a source of extra income for the families of the Indigenous Land and promotes the socio-environmental awareness of tourists who visit the place.
Art entered the life of Elton Tenente, of the Taurepang people, with the arrival of twins. With the news of his wife's pregnancy, the indigenous education teacher felt the desire to have his unborn children raised in the heart of their traditional culture. "On this path, I found nothing greater than art," he says.
Thus, in 2016, the Semente das Artes project was born in the Mangueira community, an initiative that has been rescuing and strengthening the traditional crafts of the region.
Up a wooden staircase, on top of the family house, is the studio where the project works. Under asbestos tiles, a single masonry wall with exposed bricks is embraced by three waist-high wooden "half walls". Outside, the open horizon is an invitation: to experience, through art, the indigenous culture in the place where it takes place.
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Mangueira is one of the six communities of the Araçá Indigenous Land (TI), located in the Amajari Region. Homologated in 1982, the Araçá IL has an area of 51,000 hectares and is home to about 1,900 inhabitants, according to 2022 data from the East Indigenous Special Health District. Like most Indigenous Lands in the state of Roraima, its demarcation is on an island, which means that it is surrounded by crops and that its access to natural resources, including those needed for the production of handicrafts, is limited.
In the center of the workshop, the table, made of a dark, solid wood, boasts a festival of textures. Seeds of the most diverse colors are interspersed with stones, lines, tools and clay pendants adorned with graphics so intricate that it is difficult to imagine how they fit on such tiny surfaces.