Aislan Pankararu

Born in Petrolândia, Pernambuco, Brazil



Endless River
Salon 94 89th Street

Aislan Pankararu


Aislan Pankararu (born 1990; Petrolândia, Pernambuco, Brazil; lives and works in São Paulo) is a Pankararu artist whose acrylic paintings synthesize heritage and healing in abstractions deeply rooted in the cosmology of the Toré, a ritualistic dance central to Pankararu life. Toré bridges the earthly and spiritual worlds, highlighting the interconnectedness of all beings by opening pathways for divine communion through music, movement, and body painting.

Before graduating from The University of Brasília’s Medical School, Pankararu spent his youth in the lush, swampy village of Brejo dos Padres, a spiritually significant town in The Pankararu Indigenous Land, where his grandmother passed on the cultural traditions of his forebears. Ratified in 1987, The Pankararu Indigenous Land spans the municipalities of Petrolândia, Itaparica, and Tacaratu in the northeast, and while recognized as a protected land, its people still fight for complete land rights amidst the echoes of Portuguese colonization, deforestation, forced displacements, and missionary interventions. The complete eviction of settler farmers on Pankararu land remains a persistent struggle today.

Pankararu combines his medical knowledge and inherited memory to produce abstractions brimming with the symbology of his homeland. Molecular structures and microscopic patterns echo the lifeblood of the Encantados, or “Charmed/Enchanted Ones,” pivotal spiritual figures who reside in the mountains and hills surrounding Brejo dos Padres and manifest to the Pankararu as seeds in the material world. As dam construction and deforestation disrupt the natural habitats where the Encantados live and from where they speak, the Pankararu actively pursue autonomous strategies to safeguard and share their cultural identity.

The artist’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including the landmark Indigenous Histories in 2022, which was organized by Adriano Pedrosa of Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) (BR) in collaboration with Kode Bergen Art Museum (NO), where it will travel in April 2024. The exhibition is an international survey of global Indigenous art, and the latest iteration in MASP’s closely watched Histories exhibition series. Pankararu’s work was also included in Brasil Futuro: As Formas Da Democracia in 2023, which highlighted artists in Brazil whose work advocates for communities under threat. The exhibition traveled to Museu Nacional da República, Brasília (BR); Espaço Cultural Casa das Onze Janelas, Belém (BR); and Centro Cultural Solar do Ferrão, Salvador (BR).

Pankararu’s work is held in numerous private and public collections, including Instituto Inhotim, Minas Gerais (BR), among others.



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