End Date: Sunday, May 1, 2022
Assadullah in Kabul bakery 2018 (Photograph by Ivan Flores, for article "In Kabul, Naan Endures, by Ruchi Kumar)
The Maxwell Museum's Current Issues in Anthropology exhibitions are timely displays that affirm out commitment to share information and create a forum to address current events and issues affecting our region and our world.
End Date: Sunday, May 1, 2022
Shipibo effigy jars (chomo). (MMA 2007.39.1 L, MMA 80.46.3 R)
The Maxwell Museum holds a small collection of objects and reproductions from the Amazon. From Headwaters to Mouth features objects spanning 2000 years from communities on opposite ends of the River: the island of Marajó at the mouth of the Amazon, and along the Ucayali River in Peru, a major tributary that feeds into the Amazon at its head. Shipibo artists are renowned for their intricately decorated pottery and textiles, ornamented with kené, designs that exist beyond the realm of humans and emerge from the skin of the primordial anaconda. Contemporary and historic photographs of Shipibo artists, landscapes and communities enrich the exhibition, which also feature a distinct Marajoaran object directly connected to the lost National Museum of Brazil.
End Date: Saturday, April 23, 2022
End Date: Saturday, February 19, 2022
The fire destroyed the last records of Indigenous languages no longer spoken, and irreplaceable examples of material culture from now colonized Indigenous groups. Years of government neglect and underfunding led to dangerous conditions at the museum and culminated in its destruction. Some view the government’s handling of the National Museum as analogous to their treatment of Brazil’s indigenous nations. There are hundreds of distinct Indigenous groups currently living in traditional ways in the Brazilian Amazon. However, they are under increasing threat from violence and encroaching industrial activity. Immediately after taking office in January of 2019,Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro began radically stripping the Indigenous nations and their lands of their rights and protections. Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest quadrupled in the first month of Bolsonaro’s presidency alone.
The loss of the Amazon rainforest is not only catastrophic for the Indigenous people who make it their home, but for all Brazilians in relation to their history and culture. Further, it impacts all of us around the globe. The Amazon rainforest plays a vital role in regulating global climate. It stores huge amounts of harmful carbon dioxide and is responsible for creating 20% of the planet's oxygen, earning it the name "the lungs of the planet." The Indigenous nations of Brazil have intimate knowledge of this delicate ecosystem, making them not only stewards of the Amazon rainforest, but of the planet at large.
This exhibition is a love letter to what was lost in the fire that destroyed the National Museum of Brazil, and a cautionary tale of the current political situation in Brazil, which has compounded the losses suffered from the fire. It is a letter to the Indigenous nations of Brazil, to all Brazilians, and to all of us who rely on the Amazon, the “lungs of the planet.”