MINE: What is Ours in the Wake of Extraction

MINE: What is Ours in the Wake of Extraction

2022

 

Extract: a) to draw forth (as by research) ; b) to pull or take out forcibly ; c) to obtain by much effort from someone or something unwilling.

 

The Earth system has now entered the Anthropocene, a geological age in which plantation monocultures, pollution, and industrial-scale resource extraction are damaging or destroying vital ecological systems on which the planet and its biological diversity depend. Globally dominant modes of human existence are driving us towards ecological collapse. Due to our ethically untenable relationship to nature, the Earth System is in crisis. Moreover, large numbers of people who have done nothing to cause this crisis are most exposed to its consequences. Many come from cultural traditions that enrich and perpetuate healthy biodiversity as the means to ensure mutual flourishing. These Indigenous ‘wisdom traditions’ are widely recognised for their sustainable world views and sophisticated understanding of our interdependence within the Earth System. 

 

The Amazon is a central focus of the most consequential geopolitical and environmental concerns of our time. It is a vast, rugged, beautifully diverse expanse that is integral to the Earth System’s ecological well-being yet has been continuously invaded by numerous resource exploitation interests severely lacking in sustainable administrative policies. Within this setting the region’s original custodians are under threat despite significant scientific research affirming that Indigenous environmental stewardship perpetuates biodiversity which ensures inter species flourishing. Although this is beneficial to us all, it remains a struggle for Indigenous peoples to uphold their rights, maintain their cultural traditions, and preserve their ancestral knowledge and lands. Projects such as these help raise awareness of the importance of Indigenous ancestral knowledge in regards to protecting the environment. Today, such traditions are calling out to be seen, understood and honoured.

 

From this perspective, MINE: What is Ours in the Wake of Extraction seeks to amplify indigenous worldviews through the presentation of artworks by the Etochime Harakbut Artist Collective from the Madre de Dios region of the southern Peruvian Amazon- an area heavily impacted by contamination from the illegal gold mining boom of the past 20 years there- alongside works relevant to thematics of resource extraction by San Francisco Art Institute alumni, northern California having been an area heavily impacted by the Gold Rush of 1848-1855, thus drawing parallels between these distinct geographic locations with a shared extractive impact.

MINE: Bioneers 2022

ETOCHIME @ BIONEERS

2022

Etochime is an Indigenous art collective from Madre de Dios in the southern Peruvian Amazon. In their native Harakbut language Etochime means "our roots" and they identify their artistic practice as such: PAINT SO AS NOT TO FORGET.

 

The members range in age from 4-44 and are all self taught artists. Paint on canvas is not their traditional art form but they have chosen this medium as a means through which to communicate with the West to share their urgent messages. Their presentation consists of line paintings and figurative representations of the impact of illegal gold mining on their communities. These lines traditionally are natural plant dyes painted on the body as a symbol of respect to the spirits of the jungle and it is believed that through these lines a more profound connection to the jungle deities is possible. In this installation the central black & white graphic image is of the Anämëi tree, which is at the heart of their origin story. Just as the tree saved the Harakbut and gave rise to many species of animals and plants, the Harakbut iconographies also originated there. The tree became a symbol of unity, respect and harmony with the forest and other beings of the Harakbut worlds. This painting is by Yesica Patiachi, the leader of the Etochime collective, who in fact was chosen to represent all Indigenous Amazonians and address Pope Francis when he visited Peru in 2018 warning that the Amazon’s indigenous people have never been so threatened in their territories as they are now demanding an end to the relentless exploitation of the region’s timber, gas and gold. The other paintings in this exhibition represent the negative impact that illegal gold mining in the region has had on their culture and their territories.

The Sacred Forest 

THE INVISIBLE FOREST 2019 / THE SACRED FOREST 2021-22

La Selva Invisible (2020) and La Selva Sagrada (2022) @ Dharma College (Berkeley, California) presented the work of select artists from the Peruvian Amazon featuring Lastenia Canayo, Dimas Paredes, Roldan Pinedo, Estefany Pinedo Valera, Jimena Pinedo Valera, Brus Rubio, Elena Valera, and Alfredo Zagaceta.