Universes in Universe

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Ellen Slegers

Ellen Slegers

Meetings with the white man in his time
Sound installation, 2014
Ethnic group: Gabgir
Language: Paiter Surui
Speaker: Uraan Anderson Suruí

Location: Brazil, State of Rondônia

>> Sound


Extract taken from Paiter Surui mythology Amõ Anar Segah (A story about contact with white people), narrated by Uraan Anderson Surui

This "story of contact with white people" read to us by Uraan Anderson, talks about the problematic contact, which brought with it hardship and frequently, death. It enables us to see through the eyes of the Paiter Surui the story of the occupation by the white people, of the destruction of indigenous territories and their way of life. The repetition of these rhythms and sounds which imitate the cries of animals transmit to us the historical voice of the now extinct Paiter Surui.

The challenge to indigenous life consists of trying to find the elusive balance between the preservation of the culture of the Paiter Surui and their assimilation into post-modern Brazilian society. My hope is that these narrations and testimonies in the language of the Paiter Surui, may bring us closer to the experiences of the group throughout their history and until the present and convey their difficulties and their mystery.

Ellen Slegers

Nobody slept. The white man did not let anyone sleep, they said. The Kaban ey, as well, they said And in this way, the day dawned, they said.

At this moment, Yap Wikur said to Ajo. They said
- My companion – told him, they said
- Let’s go – they said
- Before they kill our kinsmen, let us leave! They spoke among themselves.
- Otherwise, seeing him, we’ll feel pity for them. They said among themselves.
- So be it – They spoke among themselves.
- And at daybreak they departed.
- They boarded the boat, they said.
- Kor kor… went the sound of the oars
- People went away, they said
- They told the White Man that they were going to collect chestnuts, they said
- And on the on the beach were the Kaler ey talking animatedly, and the Agoy ey were also there, they said.
- And it was in this way the day dawned
- Yes, in this way, they said.


© Photo: Ellen Slegers
Ellen Slegers: * 1972 Frankfurt, Germany. Lives in São Paulo, Brazil.

Latin American Pavilion - IILA
Istituto Italo-Latinoamericano (IILA)

Arsenale - Isolotto
9 May - 22 November 2015

Title: Indigenous Voices

Curator: Alfons Hug
Co-curator: Alberto Saraiva
Commissioner: Sylvia Irrazábal

Participants: See the list

Goethe-Institut, Oi Futuro (Rio de Janeiro)

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