Brazil Pavilion at the 2023 Venice Biennale Reveals Details About the Exhibition “Terra”


The São Paulo Biennial Foundation has just announced details of the Terra project that will occupy the Brazil Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. With a curatorial effort by Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares,

the Brazilian exhibition will feature a diverse group of collaborators, comprising Mbya-Guarani indigenous peoples, Tukano, Arawak and Maku indigenous peoples, weavers from Alaká (Ilê Axé Opô Afonjá), Iyá Nassô Oká (Casa Branca do Engenho Velho), Ana Flávia Magalhães Pinto, Ayrson Heráclito, Day Rodrigues with collaboration from Vilma Patrícia Santana Silva (Etnicidades Group FAU-UFBA), Fissura Collective, Juliana Vicente, Thierry Oussou, and Vídeo nas Aldeias.

The exhibition reflects on Brazil’s past, present, and future, with a focus on earth as the center of discussion, both as a poetic and a concrete element in the exhibition space. The curatorial team has proposed covering the entire pavilion with soil. This will allow the public to have direct contact with indigenous and quilombola traditions and with the Candomblé religious practice.

The first gallery of the pavilion is named De-colonizing the Canon and seeks to challenge the narrative that Brasília, the capital of Brazil, was built in the middle of nowhere, ignoring the fact that the indigenous and quilombola peoples who inhabited the area had already been expelled from the region since the colonial period and had finally been pushed to the outskirts with the imposition of modernist city planning. The exhibition aims to present a more complex, diverse, and pluralistic territorial, architectural, and heritage image of national formation and modernity in Brazil. It presents other narratives through architecture, landscapes, and neglected heritage within the architecture canon.

The second gallery of the pavilion, entitled Places of Origin, Archaeologies of the Future, begins with the projection of Ayrson Heráclito’s video The Shaking of the House of the Tower and the Shaking of the Maison des Esclaves en Gorée, highlighting the importance of ancestry and memory in archaeology. The gallery will gather projects and socio-spatial practices of Indigenous and Afro-Brazilian knowledge about land and territory, using five essential references: Aunt Ciata’s House, in the urban context of Little Africa in Rio de Janeiro; Tava, the ruins of Jesuit missions in Rio Grande do Sul, as called by the Guarani people; the ethnogeographic complex of Candomblé religious temples in Salvador; the Agroforestry Systems of the Rio Negro in the Amazon; and the Iauaretê Waterfall of the Tukano, Arawak, and Maku indigenous peoples.

The exhibition demonstrates what several scientific research has proven: indigenous and quilombola lands are the most preserved territories in Brazil. It points to a post-climate change future where “decolonization” and “decarbonization” come hand in hand. Their practices, technologies, and customs related to land management and production, as other ways of making and understanding architecture, are situated on land and carry with them the ancestral knowledge to re-signify the present and envision other futures, not only for human communities but also for non-human ones, towards another planetary future.

Source: archdaily