Hammocks and roots are recurring elements in Gustavo Caboco's drawing, embroidery, animation, and writing. Born in Curitiba in 1989, the artist experienced his indigenous identity through the words and actions of his mother, Lucilene, who was uprooted from the Wapichana community in the indigenous territory Canauanim (Roraima) at the age of 10. In 2001, Caboco accompanied his mother on her first return to the community, a visit that saw the ties he had to his people's worldview and history of struggle multiply. It is on these journeys of returning to the land, of strengthening his roots with the land and his relatives, that Gustavo Caboco produces his multiform and procedural work, echoing the voices of the Wapichana people and the beings they know how to listen to, like plants, stones, mountains, skies, and rivers. In this way, the artist interweaves the personal with the political and the nurturing of memory with future possibilities.
Caboco's first book, which he wrote and illustrated after the 2018 fire at the Museu Nacional [National Museum of Brazil] in Rio de Janeiro, is entitled Baaraz Kawau, meaning "the field after the fire" in the Wapichana language. Its narrative intersects the history of a Wapichana borduna (an indigenous weapon made of wood and often long and cylindrical, similar to a baton) that the artist once saw in the museum's collection with the stories of Casimiro Cadete, his great-uncle and a great leader among his people. Consumed by the fire, the borduna was as old as Casimiro had been at the time of his death. This fact unleashed in Caboco a stream of associations and recollections about indigenous lives and memories, which constantly face the predatory destruction that is characteristic of Western culture.
At the 34th Bienal, Gustavo Caboco will present Kanau'yba, a project he developed with his mother, Lucilene Wapichana, and cousins Roseana Cadete, Wanderson Wapichana, and Emanuel Wapichana. The work derives from a studio in motion, formed in encounters with different landscapes that connect the stones of the sky to the stones of the ancestral land. On this journey, the Wapichana family retrace the tracks of old bordunas so that visions of present bordunas can continue. The work takes shape through an installation composed of recordings of performances, photographs, videos, drawings, paintings, animations, and objects.
Caroline A. Jones, Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).