MAHKU (Movimento dos Artistas Huni Kuin, or Huni Kuin Artists Movement), founded in 2013, is a collective of artists based between the city of Jordão and the Chico Curumim village, in the Kaxinawá (Huni Kuin) Indigenous Land of the Jordão River, state of Acre. Currently, MAHKU is one of the main players in the Brazilian contemporary art scene in general and Indigenous art in particular.
It began in the late 2000s, when some leaders of the Huni Kuin people, especially Ibã and three of his sons, Acelino, Bane, and Maná, started to carry out workshops to record the Huni Kuin chants, myths, and practices in drawings. Many of MAHKU’s works are visual depictions of the huni meka chants, traditional knowledge that accompanies the nixi pae rituals with the ayahuasca drink — a kind of tea with hallucinogenic potential prepared with Amazonian plants and used for centuries by several peoples in South America.
The visual experiences caused by the drink—called mirações (visions), this exhibition’s title — are the main raw material for the work of MAKHU’s members. The paintings and drawings also depict mythical narratives and ancestral stories about the emergence of the world and the division of species — essential elements to the Huni Kuin people’s life, the production of their humanity, and their relationship with other animals, plants, and their spirits.
The exhibition MAHKU: Visions marks the ten years since the group officially came into being. The show also celebrates the collective’s long relationship with MASP, as evidenced by the large number of works commissioned to the artists since 2017 on the occasion of different exhibitions and projects at the Museum. This is the largest show ever held with the collective, bringing together 108 works — 58 of which belong to MASP —, including paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Three new canvases produced especially for the show are also included, as well as a painting made on the Museum’s iconic staircase.
In more than a decade of production, MAHKU continues to create bridges between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds, between the visible and the invisible. By associating itself with the exhibitions’ circuit, the collective builds sustained paths to strengthen their ways of existence, circulating alligators, boa constrictors, and the “drink of the vine,” thus spreading their myths, their stories, and their art.
The artists Acelino Huni Kuin, Ayani Huni Kuin, Bane Huni Kuin, Batani Huni Kuin, Cleudo Huni Kuin, Nawa Ibã Neto Huni Kuin, Ibã Huni Kuin, Kássia Borges Karajá, Isaka Huni Kuin, Leone Huni Kuin, Maná Huni Kuin, Rare Huni Kuin, Rita Huni Kuin, Tene Huni Kuin, and Yaka Huni Kuin are part of the MAHKU collective.
The MAHKU show is part of the 2023 MASP’s programming devoted to the Indigenous histories cycle, which includes exhibitions by Carmézia Emiliano, Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, MASP Landmann Long-Term Loan of pre-Columbian ceramics and metals, and Melissa Cody, in addition to the large group exhibition Indigenous Histories.
MAHKU: Visions is curated by Adriano Pedrosa, Artistic Director, MASP, Guilherme Giufrida, Assistant Curator, MASP, and Ibã Huni Kuin, Guest Curator.