"Serra da Capivara in N.E. Brazil is the largest and most important rock art complex in the world. It has over 900 sites with hundreds of thousands of images painted mainly with ochre. Dating of stone tools and fireplaces suggests humans first came to live there maybe as much as 50 thousand years ago, and the oldest art seems to be around 13 thousand years old. Yet it remains much less well known than sites in Europe or Australia, this is in part due to its location well off the tourist trail in Brazil. But it is mostly due to the naïve assumption that any cultural and symbolic developments in South America must be more recent and of lesser significance than anything in Europe and North America. Serra da Capivara is undoubtedly controversial, but its importance deserves much more recognition on the world stage.
Anita Ekman’s art goes a long way towards bringing the brilliant rock art images at Serra da Capivara to world attention. ” David Turnbull, Senior Research Fellow in University of Melbourne, Australia.
Understanding the ochre material as the blood that gives life to body and rock painting, Brazilian artist Anita Ekman proposes a look into the archeological sites of Latin America, and in particular the region with the largest concentration of rock paintings on planet Earth: the Serra da Capivara, State of Piauí, Brazil.
The artist considers the hands painted and stamped with ochre in stones and caves around the world as a symbolic milestone of the arising of performance, body painting and the act of stamping. From this notion, Anita proposes contemporary performances that reclaim the technology of clay stamps (widely known as sello precolombino or pintaderas) created by indigenous populations of the Americas to stamp their bodies, making “rhymes” between stone and skin by the means of symbols.
PERFORMANCE BY ANITA EKMAN (MARCH, 2018. PARQUE NACIONAL DA SERRA DA CAPIVARA - PIAUI, BRASIL) PHOTO BY ANA MESQUITA MODEL: JOSELMA SANTOS