Universität Bonn

Institut für Archäologie und Kulturanthropologie

20. Juni 2024

A Waiwai perspective on museum collections. Part 1: Dresden A Waiwai perspective on museum collections. Part 1: Dresden

Indigenous Wai Wai researcher came to Europe to discuss the Wai Wai artifacts preserved in European museums

Foto de lxs investigadorxs Wai Wai y otrxs en Dredesn
Foto de lxs investigadorxs Wai Wai y otrxs en Dredesn © Alexandre Aniceto de Souza
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The BASA museum and the Heritage and Territoriality project is proud to announce the ongoing activities of the delegation of the Waiwai People of the Amazon, in order to research their material culture now housed in European museums. The delegation, composed by Jaime Xamen Wai Wai (master in Archaeology), Alexandre Aniceto de Souza (master in Anthropology), Carlos Yapoxi Martins Soares Santos (a specialist and great producer of Waiwai material culture), Igor Morais Mariano Rodrigues (professor at the UFOPA university in Brazil) and Leandro Matthews Cascon (postdoctoral researcher of the Heritage and Territoriality project) had as their first destination the collection of the Americas of the Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden, under the curatorship of Frank Usbeck.

            In the depots at Dresden, the team was able to analyze and discuss Waiwai artifacts collected from the mid-19th century up to the early 1980s. Fueled by their own perspectives and by questions posed by the non-indigenous researchers, these objects stirred personal memories for Jaime, Alexandre and Yapoxi, constructing an intergenerational and intercultural exchange of knowledge. The Waiwai expressed a sense of comfort, stating that to see their material culture in distant lands felt to them like being back in their own communities, but also expressed concerns about certain aspects of non-indigenous curatorship and classification. At the end of the visit, a heartwarming chat with the Museum für Völkerkunde curator of the Americas, Frank Usbeck, pointed to future collaborations that have the potential to further ‘indigenize’ the collections at the Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden.

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