Jaider Esbell - Moving the Big Canoe (2021)
Moving the Big Canoe is the edited version of a set of five videos in which the artist Jaider Esbell, of the Macuxi people, presents the Jaider Esbell Gallery of Contemporary Indigenous Art. Founded in 2013 in Boa Vista, Roraima, the Jaider Esbell Gallery aims to display part of his work and that of other Indigenous artists under the term "Contemporary Indigenous Art" (AIC), a concept that, in Jaider Esbell's view, encompasses both the visual production of artists who use Western tools and materials, and traditional works, such as Macuxi pots, jewellery, body painting etc.
In this context, the Jaider Esbell Gallery has been consolidating itself as a space for welcoming, meeting and collectively conquering a place of visibility for Indigenous artists, providing tools that can contribute to "moving the big canoe". Contemporary Indigenous Art, for Jaider, went beyond what the West defines as art to define itself as political, or "cosmopolitical", an act that he also characterised as "trans-historical" and "trans-geographical".
Another of AIC's fundamental contributions is to challenge the flawed categorisations of Indigenous art that assigned it a place of supposedly lesser importance in relation to Western arts. However, according to Jaider, what Indigenous artists have to share is so important that it is independent of the medium and the materials they use, whether it is oil paint, acrylic paint, the hide of an ox, the bark of a tree or a broken pot.