The expression Zona da Mata corresponds geographically to the coastal strip of northeastern Brazil, parallel to the Atlantic Ocean and extending from Rio Grande do Norte to Bahia. Stretches of the original Atlantic Forest, now almost extinct in the region, were fertile soil exploited in a predatory way. Gateway to colonization, it is historically a territory of conflict, established in the mode of invasion and occupation, matrix of removal of the original peoples and the African diaspora in the country.
This exhibition adopts the term Zona da Mata as a symbolic metaphor, not only in the sense of physical geography, in the necessary confrontation of the challenge of dealing with the violent constitution of our territory. Given the predatory exploitation of people and places, how to restore dignity to what we need to recognize as our place of residency? It is unavoidable to renegotiate our human condition in the inseparable relationship between culture and nature.
Faced with a Brazil that is under feverish, violent and retrograde convulsion, Zona da Mata is now the whole country. In line with the global challenge, now, more than ever, we must reposition ourselves in the face of our pact as a country and society, starting from the recognition of ancestral knowledge that we did not know how to cherish, without imprisoning them in a historical past, but as a fundamental part of our desirable present.
The exhibition is organized in four parts in different spaces and with different temporalities. Therefore, we are never faced with the totality of the exhibition, but only its fragments. It is held in MAC USP (5th floor b-wing and ground floor) throughout its whole length and in MAM (in the glass room in two moments). The exhibition enjoys the necessary condition of crossing, a faster path on foot than motorized, to articulate the two neighboring areas, disconnected a posteriori with Ibirapuera transformation project in 1954, where originally was a flooded forest – “forest that was once a forest” in Tupi Guarani. The project attempts a coming-and-going that adheres to the city floor, addressed to the present and to the future, in the inseparable pact of a shared and simultaneously diverted landscape, from the vibrant uniqueness of each work here on show and from the collection of both institutions that integrate this landscape-exhibition.