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Designs and transformations: paintings and beads among the Matipu people of the Upper Xingu

Grant number: 16/12795-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): September 30, 2016
Effective date (End): March 27, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Indigenous Ethnology
Principal Investigator:Antonio Roberto Guerreiro Júnior
Grantee:Gabriela Aguillar Leite
Supervisor: Susanne Kuechler
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University College London (UCL), England  
Associated to the scholarship:15/00983-0 - Paintings producing persons and persons producing paintings: aesthetics, agency and transformation among the Matipu (MT), BP.MS


The primary goal of this BEPE project is to analyze the material derived from my fieldwork at the Matipu's village of Upper Xingu, under the Professor Susanne Kuechler's supervision, in order to write the fourth chapter of the master dissertation that will result from this research. Professor Kuechler's ethnographical studies on social changes in aesthetics and art in the Pacific have become a reference in discussing the agency of artefacts in the production of social relations. Based on this same approach, the emphasis of my investigation has been in the relations involved in the production of designs by the Matipu, and in how they act in the production of Matipu´s forms of sociality.During the first year of the research, I have focused on describing the application of these designs in body paintings, exploring local conceptions of the body, the person and aesthetics. However, after the first field experience (from last July until mid-August), it has come to my attention a potentiality in understanding the current transformations in Matipu's visual production through the use of glass beads. The specific goals of this BEPE project are, therefore: a-) to collect and read a solid anthropological bibliography about skills, material translation and technique innovations among indigenous populations; b-) to establish a dialogue between the studies in Melanesia and in the lowlands of South America about transformations in designs and artifact fabrications; c-) to write the last chapter of the master dissertation, entitled "Designs' Transformations: New materials, skills, local techniques and the relations with the non-indigenous world". It is expected to concentrate on the current transformative effects derived from translating visual art from one material to another and through distinct techniques. From that, I intend to discuss how Matipu's graphic designs (and its own base repertoire) have been reinvented as well as how notions of creativity and authorship are updated and eventually modified into new contexts of regional sociality in the relationships with the non-indigenous world. (AU)

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