top of page
MAHKU_Visuel exposition_26.08.22.png

Work: Pedro Maná (MAHKU), Txain,Txai (Brother-in-law, brother-in-law), acrylic on canvas2021



Art and territorial recovery

Round table

Saturday, September 3rd, 3:30 - 5pm


Saturday, September 3rd, 5:30 - 7pm

Meet with the curator

Saturday, October 1, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm

Daniel Dinato, co-curator of the exhibition will be present at the gallery to welcome and discuss with the public

Dissident art platforms: a brazilian perspective

Friday October 21 2021: 5:00 to 8:00pm



Ibã Huni Kuin, artist, curator and founder of MAHKU
Ibã Huni Kuin (1964) is an artist, researcher and txana, an expert on songs. In the 1980s, he began research with his father, Tuin, and his uncles to revive the huni meka songs and the hanxta kuin language. It is within this framework of research that he and his son Bane founded MAHKU in 2012.

Ibã is also an activist who fights for the affirmation of the Huni Kuin culture and for the strengthening of their economic and political autonomy. This policy of affirmation is based on a strategy of alliances with other indigenous groups, but also with txai (non-indigenous allies). It is in this context that Ibã Huni Kuin, in collaboration with Daniel Dinato, had the idea of an exhibition outside Brazil, which would allow his community to forge new links. 

Daniel Dinato, co-curator-txai and anthropologist

Daniel Dinato (1990) studied both social anthropology and curatorial studies and has been researching and collaborating alongside MAHKU since 2016. Since then, he developed a close bond with artists of the collective, especially Ibã with whom he created the exhibition Venda tela, compra terra. Currently a PhD student at the University of Quebec in Montreal, he has been developing with MAHKU the concept of curator-txai, a long-term curatorial practice based on affinities and difference. 

Dinato is a member of the Interuniversity Center for Indigenous studies and research (CIÉRA), the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Contemporary Indigenous Assertions (GRIAAC) and the Núcleo de Antropologia das Sociedades Indígenas e Tradicionais (NIT-UFRGS).    

Daniel + Ibâ .jpeg


"...Music is life, nixi pae (ayahuasca) is life. Paintings are alive in the museum, in the gallery, in people’s homes, it lives with us. Paint is therefore life. 

Paint is also our weapon. That is, it is our product, our production, just like music. It is what we produce. So that is it: sell art, buy land. Sell art, buy a home. Sell art, buy a motor. Sell art, buy food, clothing, medicine. Sell art and help your close ones. The canvas stays alive like that..."

Ibã Huni Kuin, 10 June 2022

For the Huni Kuin, an Indigenous community of about 14,000 people who live across the state of Acre in Brazil and Peru, taking care of the planet means taking care of nixi pae, the ayahuasca. The protection of ayahuasca is, in other words, intrinsically related to the protection of forests, rivers, and land and to the cultivation of Huni Kuin existence in its physical, spiritual, and intellectual forms. It is through the ritual experience of ayahuasca that the community accesses a mythical space-time where past, present, and future are intertwined and correspond with an infinite number of yuxin, indirectly visible beings. To protect ayahuasca is to protect the conditions for Huni Kuin existence.

MAHKU (Movimento dos Artists Huni Kuin), a collective of Huni Kuin researchers and visual artists, has been enacting such protection for the past ten years, engaging practices of contemporary art to safeguard and renew ancestral knowledge and to recuperate ancestral territory. MAKHU transforms huni meka, songs sung during nixi pae ceremonies, into paintings, creating poetic artworks that give us access to the deeply relational ontology of the Huni Kuin. MAHKU then integrates these works into the contemporary art market as audiovisual installations and murals, not only Indigenizing the art world in the process, but also redirecting the monetary income of these works to the community through the purchase of land, food, gas, clothing, etc.

Vende tela, compra terra (sell the canvas, buy land) focuses on this process, highlighting the collective’s artistic, militant, and communal axes and their search for financial and territorial autonomy. The exhibition takes its name from MAHKU’s purchase, with the amount the collective received from the sale of a canvas in 2014, of the ten hectares of land on which they established the MAHKU Independent Center, a place for research, artistic experimentation, and the preservation of the forest and of Huni Kuin knowledge. 

Formalized in 2012, MAKHU began as an extension of long-term intergenerational research on huni meka chants by founding member, researcher, and visual artist Ibã Huni Kuin, together with his father Tuni Huni Kuin, and his son, visual artist Bane Huni Kuin. In the early 80s, Ibã Huni Kuin started recording and registering the huni meka chants sung by his father and uncles, becoming a txana , a singing master himself at the same time. Twenty years later, his son Bane began to transform these chants into images so as to better memorize their lyrics and visualize their nonlinear narratives. By painting, the artists of MAKHU translate the meaning and feeling of huni meka, giving viewers a glimpse of the mirações, visions produced by the ingestion of ayahuasca and by the ritual of listening to chants.

Vende tela, compra terra gathers paintings, drawings, legal documents, objects, and recordings of huni meka, which together attest to MAKHU’s complex contemporary art practice and their claim to visual art as a weapon in the struggle for the political, ecological, and cultural autonomy of the Huni Kuin people. MAHKU’s resistant artistic practice parallels the various emancipatory social movements being taken up by Indigenous peoples across the Americas that concern ancestral rights and environmental justice.

The exhibition is the materialization of a collective process between Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaborators: co-curator Ibâ Huni Kuin, co-curator-txai Daniel Dinato, MAHKU artists Pedro Maná, Cleiber Bane, Acelino Tuin, and Kássia Borges, and the SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art txai-team. This partnership expands on MAHKU’s and Daniel’s research into the concept of txai, meaning brother/sister-in-law in hantxa kuin, Huni Kuin language, as a way of emphasizing a kinship in a long-term collaborative artistic practice based on affinities and differences.



Painting, the main artistic production of Mahku, was born in 2012 out of the need to revive collective knowledge on the verge of disappearing, and consists of translating Huni meka songs that guide ayahuasca rituals and certain myths into images. Guided by Ibã Huni Kuin, the artists transform and create bridges with the non-Indigenous through murals, drawings and installations while building alliances and strategies of autonomy.

Currently, the works of the collective are part of the collection of the Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP) Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo and Fondation Cartier, in Paris. Among the exhibitions in which they participated, there is Histoires de Voir (Fondation Cartier), Les Vivants (Fondation Cartier/Lille 3000), Mestizo Stories (Tomie Ohtake Institute), 35th Panorama of Brazilian Art: Brazil by Multiplication (MAM-SP), Avenida Paulista (MASP), Vaivém (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil), Vexoá: we know (Pinacoteca) and Moquém_Surarî: contemporary indigenous art (MAM-SP). With a participatory and collaborative approach, MAHKU disseminates the millennia-old knowledge of the Huni Kuin and draws attention to an ongoing history of oppression, exclusion and displacement of the indigenous people.

Logo journées de la culture.png
Logo CG Montreal (Pt).png
UQAM_faculté des arts.jpeg
Logos table ronde.jpg
bottom of page