“We would like to pay tribute to Jaider Esbell for his fighting spirit, which will last forever. As an Indigenous artist and intellectual, Jaider was a leading light for all of us who believe that art is an instrument of struggle. The Indigenous art movement emerges from wisdom and experience, from the political struggles that translate the thinking and the cosmovision of our peoples. It is vital we continue on this path, on a journey that can only be undertaken as a collective.
Jaider, upon being invited to be part of this exhibition, expressed that he thought it was important to participate, as it was an initiative of a curator, an Indigenous woman, who would support other Indigenous mothers deep inside this forest. This exhibition is a tribute to Indigenous artists who, like Jaider, are sensitive and fight to defend the diversity of cultures and lives within our forests, for the mother body of the earth.” – Sandra Benites
Jaider Esbell (1979-2021) from Normandia, Roraima state, was a significant member of the Macuxi people, a multimedia artist and an independent curator. The cosmovision of his people, mythical narratives and daily life in the Amazon make up the poetics of his work, which unfolds in drawings, paintings, videos, performances and texts.
Esbell defined his artistic propositions as “artivism”, and his research combined intersectional discussions between art, ancestry, spirituality, history, memory, politics and ecology.
His elaborations on Txaism – a way of weaving relationships of affective affinities in the intercultural circuits of the arts guided by Indigenous protagonism – stand out. In the field of decolonial critique, his trajectory and practical research make evident what is generally experienced strictly on the level of discourse. He produced art-education practices in Indigenous communities, quilombolas (settlements originally established by escaped slaves), ribeirinhas (traditional peoples who live alongside rivers, often in dwellings on stilts) and urban peripheral communities. He collaborated regularly with Indigenous artists from the Circumroraimense region via the contemporary Indigenous art gallery in the city of Boa Vista, Roraima state.
From 2010-2021, Jaider was heavily involved in various exhibitions in Brazil and abroad. In 2016, he won the PIPA Prize online category. In 2020, he participated in “Véxoa: nós sabemos” (Véxoa: we know), a group show of Indigenous art at the Pinacoteca of São Paulo state. In 2021, he curated his own solo exhibition “Apresentação : Ruku” (Presentation : Ruku), at Galeria Millan in São Paulo. He was an invited artist at the 34th São Paulo Biennial and curator of the project Moquém_Surarî, an exhibition of contemporary Indigenous art at the Museu de Arte Moderna in São Paulo happening this autumn.