Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

Uyra Sodoma, BR

As in Prishtina and countless other places across the world, rivers in the Brazilian city of Manaus have vanished. To make way for commerce, specifically the rubber trade, these ancient waterways were transformed into roadways – to devastating effect on the environment and the people who live there. Hundreds were slaughtered during construction.

Embodying a “tree that walks”, Uýra Sodoma enacts the recovery of the rivers, the fertility of the soil and the rich diversity of plant life. Uýra is the alter-ego of Emerson, a non-binary indigenous biologist, ecologist, educator and artist.

An at once archaic and futuristic hybrid figure, they work across multiple media including performance, photography, installation, lectures and classes. Confronting racism and transphobia is as important to them as environmental education.

Whereas the performative photographs of Retomada explore the vegetal and spiritual recuperation of sites of neglect, the installation Malhadeira reimagines the hydrographic network of Manaus, still submerged beneath roads and avenues. Uýra regards each as an overtly political denouncement and manifesto.