Rewriting Indigenous Narratives: 'Pera + Flora + Fauna' at Venice Biennale

On a transformative day in April 2022, the Archivi della Misericordia in Cannaregio, Venice, Italy, hosted a profound performative event titled 'Pera + Flora + Fauna.' This event, part of the Port exhibition series under the biennale theme 'Pera Flora Fauna,' was a collective endeavor to address the dehumanization and re-humanization of indigenous communities worldwide.

Main Message

The event underscored the importance of collective unity, the need to preserve indigenous cultures, and the profound impact of industrialized nations on these communities. It emphasized the interconnectedness of humanity and nature, urging a shift from the individualistic 'me' to the communal 'we.'

Event Highlights

The highlight of the event was a series of performances that brought to life the themes of indigenous identity and environmental conservation. Drawing inspiration from Muhammad Ali’s evocative poem 'me/we,' the performances celebrated communal spirit, sharing, and the prioritization of community over individuality.

Curatorial Insight

Commissioned by Nur Hanim Mohamed Khairuddin, the General Manager of PORT, and curated by a team including myself, 'Pera + Flora + Fauna' delved deeply into the discourse on the impact of mainstream cultural attitudes from industrialized nations on indigenous communities and the environment. Central to our exploration was the question: Could aesthetic contemplation foster the preservation of nature and uphold the rights and traditions of indigenous peoples? Additionally, we pondered whether indigenous populations had the agency to challenge and redefine the history predominantly documented by non-indigenous perspectives.

Impact and Reflection

This initiative provided a vital platform for indigenous voices to reclaim their narratives and histories, disrupting the dominant discourse and advocating for a nuanced understanding of indigenous cultures and their relationship with nature. By examining various viewpoints on humanity, nature, and their interconnectedness, 'Pera + Flora + Fauna' stimulated dialogue, fostered critical reflection, and illuminated the complexities surrounding indigenous rights, environmental conservation, and cultural autonomy.