Hailing from Mojuí dos Campos, Santarém in the Amazon, UÝRA is an artist and human rights activist with a Master’s Degree in Ecology. Identifying as non-binary, UÝRA channels the drag persona Uýra Sodoma, inspired in part by their indigenous roots, to disrupt colonial narratives of wilderness, gender, and environmental destruction.
UÝRA's work can be described as “photo performance,” a “presence,” that is in UÝRA’s words a “hybrid of animal and plant…a tree that walks within the cosmovision within the way that Indigenous Peoples from many places come.” This creation interacts with the environment in various locales and the action is captured by a photographer.
UÝRA's clothing is made from only natural materials collected locally and sustainably, and can take several hours to design.
The resulting work can be seen on the streets of the Amazonian city of Manaus, Brazil, or in the city’s art galleries. UÝRA's explains: “...a tree walking breaks the Western, Eurocentric, colonial imaginary that envisions trees as stationary, motionless organisms. By turning into Uýra, these rights of the walking trees are like the Indigenous bodies that have always mobilized us and moved independently of colonialism.”
At the heart of UÝRA's multi-faceted work is hope. He steadfastly believes in the power of art to bring people together and give voice to the voiceless: “...Indigenous Peoples, Black people, trans people, LGBTQ2S people, and racialized people of all forms, people from the periphery of social movements, teachers, we’ve been here for a long time. So let us not give up. I have hope for the art system.”
We share that hope, and we salute the life and work of this exceptional person.
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