Simone Fontana Reis exhibits at the National Institute for Amazon Research

The installation Not all that Glitters is Gold, by artist Simone Fontana Reis, aims to provoke reflection on pre-Columbian Brazilian technologies and knowledge and, in particular, to retrieve the values of Amazonian peoples. The exhibition runs from the 14th June to the 20th August at the Paiol da Cultura, in the Science Grove of the INPA – National Institute for Amazon Research (INPA/MCTI), in Manaus, Amazonas. The artist incorporates Terra Preta, or Amazonian Dark Earths, and methods of its preparation in her artwork. She covers the walls of the 40 metre-long exhibition space with a Terra Preta compound and uses replicas of ancestral ceramic fragments found in it, which when transformed into bronze shine like the gold conveyed in European art. Simone notes that “the European invaders failed to recognise the importance of the Terra Preta and the tremendous achievement of these natives. Desperately seeking gold, they could not see the real Eldorado: a method of cultivation and lifestyle entirely adapted to the environment, to the way in which they transformed the landscape, enriching the soil, wasting nothing, selecting and domesticating species, using natural water forces and cycles, with no hunger and no disease – a stark contrast from the reality of 16th century Europe.

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