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Indigenous women take office as holders of the Olavo Setubal Chair on March 1

by Richard Meckien - published Feb 20, 2024 12:20 PM - - last modified Feb 27, 2024 02:44 PM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Mauro Bellesa.

Arissana Pataxó, Francy Baniwa e Sandra Benites - janeiro/2024
From left to right: Arissana Pataxó, Francy Baniwa, and Sandra Benites at the IEA in January

Indigenous leaders Arissana Pataxó, Francy Baniwa, and Sandra Benites will take office as new holders of the Olavo Setubal Chair of Art, Culture, and Science on March 1, at 10:00 am. The Chair is a partnership between the IEA and Itaú Cultural. The ceremony will be open to the public and held in USP's Council Room. Live transmission will be provided. Those interested in attending the event in person must register in advance.

The trio will develop the research program "Caminho da Cutia: Territory and Knowledge of Indigenous Women," which will address the knowledge and activities of indigenous women based on experiences in different areas, from the work of midwives to the production of ceramics, the cultivation of fields to school education, as well as their activities in politics, academia, the arts, and other areas.

The idea is to provide spaces, interactions, and actions that contribute to a fruitful dialogue between the University and indigenous peoples regarding knowledge itself but also ways of getting to know and transmitting knowledge. Throughout 2024, the holders intend to provide both the sharing of knowledge and worldviews of their own ethnicities with non-indigenous people, as well as exchanges and rapprochements between different indigenous peoples.


Visual artist, professor and researcher, Pataxó was born in Porto Seguro (State of Bahia) and is part of the Pataxó ethnic group. She holds a master's degree in ethnic and African studies from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), where she is carrying out doctoral research in visual arts, the area of her graduation from the same University. In her artistic work, she addresses indigenous reality and its interaction with other contemporary realities, making use of various techniques and supports.

Baniwa is an anthropologist, writer, photographer, filmmaker, and doctoral candidate in social anthropology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), where she became a master in the same area after graduating in sociology from the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM). She is part of the Wanaliana community, located in the Upper Negro River indigenous land in São Gabriel da Cachoeira (State of Amazonas), and has been active in the indigenous movement in the region for more than 10 years.

A PhD candidate in anthropology at (UFRJ), Benites is the director of visual arts at the Brazilian Foundation for the Arts (FUNARTE) and works as an art curator, educator, and activist for the Guarani Nhandeva people. Born in the Porto Lindo indigenous land in Japorã (State of Mato Grosso do Sul), she became a master in social anthropology through the postgraduate program at the National Museum of UFRJ. She has been deputy curator of Brazilian art at the Assis Chateaubriand São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP).


The ceremony will also feature a farewell speech by writer and educator Conceição Evaristo, holder of the Chair in 2022 and 2023, and a presentation by educator Ana Maria Rabelo Gomes, from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), paranymph of the three new holders.

The opening of the event will feature institutional speeches by Martin Grossmann, academic coordinator of the Chair; Roseli de Deus Lopes, deputy director of the IEA; Eduardo Saron, president of the Itaú Foundation; Maria Alice Setubal, representative of the Setubal family; and Maria Arminda do Nascimento Arruda, vice-president of USP.

Photo: Leonor Calasans. Edited by Tie Ito, both from the IEA.