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Povo Pankararu [Pankararu People]

Traveling over Aislan Pankararu work is like going through the symbology of the sertão (dry region of northeast Brazil) from its most singular angle. Through the depths of the caatinga (semi-arid tropical vegetation), over each of its flowery or thorny writhing branches, we can find a visual representation of sertão’s people that was, is, and will keep being, INDIGENOUS. This is an ancestral essence.


Pankararu is the people Aislan and I belong to, we are located in the sertão area of Pernambuco. But we go in the opposite direction of an impoverished and shallow vision of our diversities. New narratives are awakening to say that we are here, and we can tell our own history, make our marks on the world, and talk for ourselves. The concept of ‘art’ has been reserved to the dominant class for so long, and the place of folklore  was assigned for us. We were described and pictured throughout history in distant mythological narratives, since the colonization, they depict us based on their taste, understanding, and intentions. The problem is that whiteness cannot understand us yet.


A work we can find identification, not just contemplating it. We can see ourselves intimately reflected in it, realizing how beautiful and excellent it is, in a way we never felt before, even having all elements as part of our everyday life, our tradition, our memory. In each of Aislan’s traces I can see the cansanção (typical tree of local vegetation), the path I walk to my grandmother's house, and the first time I danced the Corrida do Imbu (a very important ritual for Pankararu people related to our deities). I see many plants as juremeira, espinheiro, faveleira, and macambira. Our ritualistic patterns and symbols open into eternal flows, as perfect cycles that break with the idea of a linear temporality. It is possible to see the beginning of life in the roots of a tree and eternity in a seed, like we see in ourselves, the umbilical cord connected to a deep root, widespread in branches that give fruits, seeds, so we can sprout and be infinite. It is more than any notion of ‘art’, it is a notion of belonging. It is knowing exactly where our primeval tree is planted. It is a visual identity to represent the same people in so many ways, the same region, biome, and an universe for new identifications within each specificity.


I notice that our current generation, and native people in general, is looking for a genuine identification in all artistic languages. I feel this identification with Aislan Pankararu’s work not just because we are from the same people. It is due to the fact I can recognize many people from this region, and they also can see themselves in the white traces of his graphism, which is characteristic not only for us Pankararu people, but for a large group of people that are interconnected to the same umbilical cord. Our heroes have never been the princess or emperors, they have been those who died defending their people. It is the time for us to have our own idols. Aislan keeps creating more than identification, he is affirming an identity. Aislan has maken his mark in time-space for a new era of the visual arts, and I feel privileged to follow this chapter of history being written, as his contemporary, and his fan. 


With love and strong identification,

Bia Pankararu

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