Amazonia: The Rights of Nature... ¡No te la puedes perder!

Updated: Feb 12

Recientemente, en el Museo de Antropología de la Universidad de Columbia Britanica, fue inaugurada Amazonia: The Rights of Nature, exhibición que pone de manifiesto un interesante análisis acerca de los procesos colonizadores por los que a través del tiempo esta área ha pasado, y que han traído como consecuencias, entre otras, los intercambios comerciales y culturales, mismos que no siempre han desembocado en felices situaciones: deforestación, pobreza, contaminación, etcétera. Pero también, nos acerca al conocimiento de las comunidades que han habitado la región por milenios y que han encontrado la forma de coexistir con la naturaleza. Nos recuerda la noción del buen vivir,

Nuno Porto, curador de la exposición, contestó para Tintas algunas preguntas en torno al significado e importancia de tan apasionante tema:

TINTAS (T): Can you speak about what makes this exhibition relevant to us, here in Canada?

NUNO PORTO (NP): If global warming, deforestation, environmental destruction caused by hydro-electric dams, fracking, oil-drilling, pipelines are of any concern, if the targeted violence against indigenous persons resisting to maintain their traditional lands is of any concern, then it is a great opportunity to listen to solutions to problems similar to those we face every day, developed by our most southern neighbours. It is also an opportunity to question simple things. For instance: should Canada adopt the Rights of Nature in its constitution? If so how to get there? There is food for thought. T: How can the exhibition change how people see themselves?

NP: The idea of Rights of Nature is not an end in itself but a means to ensure Living Well. Buen Vivir, Living Well, is an umbrella term for teachings emerging from indigenous forms of knowledge in South America, not exclusively of Amazonia. It is structured around the notion that humans are part of the natural world and that a balance between all things is necessary for collective life and happiness. Buen vivir is the result of a deliberate effort to create meaningful relationships with others and the land, an ethics, that re centers the individual within the community. In economic terms, it is not about accumulating more things, but rather about reaching a collective balance, for instance, via a better, more even, distribution of wealth. A simple principle is that individual happiness and self-fulfillment, depends on the happiness of each one in the community, and that everyone should have the same opportunities than anyone else. As we approach levels of inequality that are close to those experienced over hundred years ago during the Industrial revolution, I have the hope that visitors may question the world we live in and might want to engage in creating a better world. I hope that visitors may choose to become part of change. T: What would be one piece of wisdom that you would especially like people to take away from the exhibition?

NP: This exhibition puts in relationship two themes: indigenous knowledge as revealed by artifacts and their histories, and innovative legal systems. Visitors will learn that the Amazonia is what it is because it has been inhabited by humans for the last 11,000 years. The forest is home to over 385 indigenous groups that have developed a balanced relationship with the forest. By inviting our visitors to think of the forest as an inhabited space we also invite them to leave behind the opposition between humans and nature, and to think of the forest as the ongoing creation of a socio-environmental relationship. T: What challenges did you face while preparing it?

NP: Mainly conceptual dilemmas. Working with a tireless, dedicated and creative team at MOA washes any challenge away. T: How many items are going to be displayed?

NP: About 150 exquisite Amazonian pieces from MOA’s collections, four amazing films and an original soundscape by Diego Samper, short documentaries by Bruno Pacheco de Oliveira and Gavin Andrews, and the Green Interview web site by Silver Donald Cameron. T: Is there going to be an excursion to the Amazonia? NP: Stay tuned: it is not programmed but … who knows?

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