Ernesto Neto, Cura Bra Cura Té, 2021. Courtesy the artist and Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Ernesto Neto: Cura Bra Cura Té
Ernesto Neto (b. 1964 in Rio de Janeiro) is one of Latin America's paramount contemporary artists. Since the 1990s, Neto has created a distinct body of work — an ongoing formal inquiry into space, volume, balance and gravity that is equally informed by sensuality, energy and spirituality. Inspired by a wide range of sources— from Brazilian avant-garde artists such as Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, through the Modernist abstraction of Calder and Brancusi, to the natural world, shamanism and craft culture—Neto’s art-making practice has pushed the boundaries of sculpture and radically redefined the relationship between artwork and viewer.
Since 2013, Neto has been collaborating with the peoples of the forest, particularly the indigenous community Huni Kuin, also known as Kaxinawá. The population of this ethnic group, which now stands at 7,500 people, inhabits part of the Brazilian state of Acre and makes up the largest indigenous population of the state. “The indigenous peoples of the forest have a much deeper connection to nature. In actual fact, the word ‘nature’ as something that lies outside of us human beings doesn’t even exist in this community. They cannot make sense of this separation,” observes the artist.
Indigenous cultures tend to place a strong emphasis on equality, balance and harmony with nature. There is a stronger sense of unity, of mutual responsibility and care for each other and the Earth as an interconnected web of life. Join Ernesto Neto's call for healing, as he embraces this perspective and advocates for reciprocal relationships between people and the planet.
With thanks to Ateliê Nave and Fortes D'Aloia y Gabriel.
Glossary of Portuguese and Indigenous words
Pajés, pajoas: A term derived from Tupi-Guarani languages used to describe the figure of the Shaman - the counselor, healer, sorcerer and spiritual intermediary of an indigenous community. Babalorixá, Babalorixás: Also known as Pais-de-santo—“Fathers of (the) saint(s)," priests of Umbanda, Candomblé and Quimbanda, the Afro-Brazilian religions. Yalorixá, Yalorixás: Also known as Mães-de-santo—"Mothers of (the) saint(s)," priestesses of Umbanda, Candomblé and Quimbanda, the Afro-Brazilian religions. Rezadores, rezadoras: Worshippers— those who pray. Parteira, parteiras: Midwife (a person who assists women in childbirth).