Mê`Ôk, Nossa Pintura

Mê`Ôk, Nossa Pintura


So, I’ll tell the story of the painting. It was Kubenhêpre, the man-bat,
who showed us the art of painting. He left us this art. He showed us the Meibê painting, done with the
fingers, and the Mekjekrôri, done on the thigh. All kinds of painting, the painting of the tapir,
Kukrytkra-ôk… and the ceremonial painting
of the Curassow, Àkrê-ôk… the painting of the honey, Pykákam-mei-ê, and also the painting of the warriors, Mekakôkreti, the painting Mekakôdjwa-it… It was this painting that the man-bat
left for the Mebengôkre people and since then we do it. This is our painting. Our ancestors used the genipap
that they gathered in the forest, our mothers have used
such genipap. If someone found
a genipap tree, everybody would pick it up there,
even if it was far from the village. It was very tiresome! Just like finding the boriprà coal,
it’s a very hard work. It’s a very difficult and tiring task. And our fathers carried the
genipap over long distances, for our mothers to prepare the painting. This is the way to get
the boriprà coal. This is the path to the boriprà, it is not near.
We will arrive around 1 p.m. Finding the boriprà coal in the forest
is a very difficult task. The forest is dense, it is full of thorns,
it’s hard to find the path… But we end up finding the boriprà coal
to paint our children. Look how it is like today,
we are taking too long! We had to cross the mountains, the feet get tired, we get thirst… It was the Djôre (Xikrin) who started
the painting of the men’s feast. One day, we, the Mebengôkre people… We, the Mebengôkre people, went there to meet them, we saw how they did the paintings and
when we came back we did the same… and this is the
painting we are using. Take off your clothes and come here. Take off your panties and lay facedown,
they are going to film you. Our work is like this: using the stick, using the hand, then we bathe the children,
we shave their hair, we apply black rosin, we apply annatto. We do not grow by ourselves, we grow with the genipap paintings and
with the ornaments made by our mothers. When I had my first daughter, it was my
mother who took care of her. She made the ornaments
to make my daughter pretty. And I would watch her
paint my daughter, I kept looking… Only when I had my second daughter that
I put into practice what I had learned, what I’ve learned from
my mother and my grandmother. And today I keep doing all sorts
of paintings I learned from them. The girls start learning in a very early age. And keep on training… so that, when they become mothers,
they paint their children. Do what I’m doing. This daughter of mine is already starting
to paint with the stick. Come on, stand up! Help me get this. Wait for you father to cover you up. Go, get inside… Can you make me a cigarette?
So that I blow on her to make it dry quicker. The rolling paper is right there, on the floor. Turn your head and stay there very still. Be still… I’m asking you not to move! When I was little I used to lie down for
very long waiting for my mother to paint me. It is not easy. You can see how long it takes to do it all. We lay for a long time, we get hungry,
cannot play, walk, or move. It’s like this, it takes too long. The painting done with the stick really takes time. It takes a long time… Now I’ve finished painting my daughter. Tomorrow morning I’ll bathe her,
I will shave her hair and I will do the same to my son Ikrá. I am very quick to paint. For the feasts, I paint my uncles,
my brothers, daughters and grandchildren… And then, when it’s done,
I’m already pretty tired. My fingers, my spine, my eyes hurt… Now we have the women’s feast. That is why we are preparing bracelets,
anklets, wristlets. But our ancestors didn’t have ornaments
for this feast, they used to dance with nothing. Only the sling, nothing else.
And the Metekrejamrex haircut. But today we have the beads
to make the ornaments for the dances. Each dance has its own painting. Each dance, each dance… Out of the festivities, we have to use the paintings
too: the painting of the Jacu, the painting of the water, the thicker Meibê painting… This is our custom. So, this is the music of the painting
we are using. Bep, bring me some water,
to wet her hair. It’s there, where you placed it. Stay close, I’ll shave your hair. I’ll do to my grandchildren exactly
the same way I did to my children. I do this to help develop their bodies. I began doing paintings
after I had children. Once the baby is born, we can only do
something when he is asleep, we have to cook quickly, and, as soon as he wakes up, we pick him up,
breastfeed, and go to the river to give a bath. After the bath we go back home,
and, when the child sleeps, we paint him. So we do a painting called Meibê. And when the child wakes up, we pick him up
until he’s sweaty and take him to bathe in the river. After the bath we apply annatto
on the calf and also around the mouth. We pick him up.
The grandmother also holds him. So she combs the baby’s hair and
apply annatto again around the mouth and again on the calf. When the eldest is born, we, mothers, use red annatto on the
entire face and black genipap on the thighs. And only then do we hold the child again. This is our custom
when we have the first child. The culture of the White people is
different from ours, the Mebengôkre. I wear the dress and the panties of the whites
but do not forget our traditions. I do not use lipstick or nail polish. The whites who live near here
do not like us. They say: we will end up with the
culture of the Mebengôkre! But you, who came from afar,
like our culture. And that’s why you want to see
how our habits are like. And we, women, are showing the
feminine culture. We’re just wearing your clothes,
but we maintain our habits. In the past we would not shave the hair like this,
we’d only comb in the half, but today we shave it. Before, we’d let the hair grow
to comb it in half. It was after the contact with white people
that we started to shave the hair. That’s why we like shaving the hair,
it is something Indian! Come closer, you walked away from me. Grab some boriprà coal for me. The Djôre began to paint
with the stick. Then our people went there and they had a feast
like the one we have here today, using body painting. Their women painted the Mebengôkre men
with the stick and they came back body painted. That’s how we started using the painting
done with the stick. Who comes first? Let’s turn, we have to change
position. This rosin is so very strong,
but we will not stop using it. On the children’s initiation feast, we tie
their hair with cotton using this rosin. It’s been a long time since I did it to my kids,
but no one filmed it. Where is her armband? What time is it? Will you come back? Will you come back someday? Let your hair down and turn on your back. If someone asks you how we are, say
that our culture still exists, it is not over. I prepared this annatto myself.
I made it to groom my grandchildren. I show everything I know to my grandchildren,
so that our culture continues. Come on, boy,
I don’t have the whole afternoon! Look closely to the gaiter, we still do
the same way as it was done in the past. You filmed all my work, now you have
to spread the film and help us! This is our painting tradition. The painting with the hands, for example,
I can do it anytime. This one here… Simply being healthy
and we get together to paint. So it was all that we learned
from the man-bat and we still to do it today. Someone else has to come here to see
our culture, besides you. It can not be hidden, it has to be shown
all over Brazil, for everyone to see our culture. Send me a copy for me to watch. I want my grandson to see his image. English version: Paura Bara

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