Adelais - Aurélien Fontanet Aurélien Fontanet

Aldeias - Aurélien Fontanet

Jun 18, 2022 - Aug 28, 2022
Nyon - Exhibition

Exhibition at the Galerie Focale in Nyon

In the 1960s, the Xikrin community in the Brazilian state of Pará numbered barely 100 people. The flu brought by walnut hunters, against whom the Xikrin were fighting to preserve their territory, had wreaked havoc in the region. René Fuerst, a committed ethnologist, advised the chief of the Indians to go into the forest with his people to survive, thus saving them from extinction.

The Xikrin live in villages (Aldeias) on the indigenous land of Kateté, which was declared as such in 1977 and approved in 1991. However, in 1986, the authorities in Brasília approved the creation of 22 steel factories in this region full of raw materials. Since then, the number of factories has grown steadily, disrupting the life of this community.

These forest dwellers and a large part of the biodiversity are infected by the pollutant discharges from a mining industry. This multinational company is compensating the Xikrin rather than taking responsibility for this environmental and humanitarian disaster. It puts the community in a dependency full of contradictions. Indeed, with this money received from their torturer, the Xikrin put all their energy not in hunting or fishing but in treating their population from the consequences of these contaminations and in making their cause visible, but without really being able to obtain the means to solve this problem at its source.



Born in Geneva in 1982 and with a master's degree in visual arts (HEAD-Geneva), Aurélien Fontanet was a student of Daniel Schweizer, a Swiss filmmaker, who suggested that he take part in a working group with the Genevan ethnologist René Fuerst to work with the means of art on the territorial and cultural issues of the peoples of the Amazon. In 2013, he brought René Fuerst's book Hommes Oiseaux d'Amazonie to the Xikrin, 50 years after their meeting. These three people will then found together the Amazonian Memory project. Aurélien Fontanet has been a "messenger" for the Xikrin in Amazonia, exhibiting at the MEG in Geneva, in France and in Canada. More recently, he has been involved as a photographer with the "precarious Geneva" during the COVID 19 crisis.


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