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A Fabulous Journey to the Heart of Amazonia, Its River, Its Forest and Its Peoples

(CNW) - Pointe-à-Callière is proud to present a new exhibition: Amazonia. The Shaman and the Mind of the Forest, from April 20 to October 22, 2017

MONTRÉAL, April 19, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Archaeology and History Complex, is proud to present Amazonia. The Shaman and the Mind of the Forest, a journey along the fabled Amazon River, a voyage through the heart of the Earth's largest forest, and a fabulous introduction to the history of the Indigenous peoples living in these little-known places. Adapted by Pointe-à-Callière from an original concept by the Musée d'ethnographie de Genève (MEG) and with the participation of the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH), Brussels, the exhibition features over 500 remarkable objects from some thirty different ethnic groups, from nine countries in the Amazon basin. For the first time, the unique and fragile splendours of amazing Amazonia are on display in Montréal!

Extraordinary cultural diversity

The exhibition focuses on what is common to these many peoples – shamanism – and on the extraordinary diversity of their material culture. The objects come from different communities dotted across the vast forested territory, comprising parts or all of Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Surinam, Guyana and French Guiana. 

Shimmering feathered finery, sets of ceremonial masks and diadems, blowguns, bows and curare-tipped arrows, vases, basketry, musical instruments and items required by shamans in their use of hallucinogens, the objects presented in the exhibition illustrate the customs of Indigenous cultures as they have been observed from the 18th to the 21st centuries, drawing on the rich collections of partner museums. Photographs and films are also important parts of the exhibition, portraying many different aspects of Amazonian peoples.

A treasure for all of humanity

Then the exhibition immerses visitors in the dense Amazonian forest, allowing them to imagine all its natural splendours. They will be entranced not only by actual sounds recorded in the forest, but also by sound tales created from original recordings of different Amazonian peoples. For Indigenous Amazonians, music and different sounds are ways for humans, spirits and animals to communicate with one another. These tales evoke ancient myths, spirits in rituals, initiation ceremonies or simply everyday activities. Bathed by the Amazon and its tributaries, subject to frequent natural flooding, the Amazonian forest has the most biodiversity on earth – a treasure for all of humanity. Over 40,000 plant species (up to 4,000 per hectare), more than 220 fish species, 1,300 bird species and almost 450 mammal species, not to mention all the insects, have been identified! In this part of the exhibition, visitors will also meet about fifteen different Amazonian peoples.

The exhibition ends in a setting recalling a Xabono house, common to Yanomami Indians, with an impressive collection of some 20 ceremonial masks on loan from the RMAH. The Mehinako Atuxuá masks, an exceptional and unique collection, were used in ceremonies to recover stolen souls.

You will find the visuals of the exhibition and the full press release here:

Essential partners

Amazonia. The Shaman and the Mind of the Forest is an exhibition produced by the Musée d'ethnographie de Genève and adapted by Pointe-à-Callière, with the participation of the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels (RMAH). Pointe-à-Callière extends its sincere thanks to its main museum partners for their unflagging co-operation: at the MEG, Boris Wastiau, Executive Director and Commissioner of the exhibition in Geneva, and Philippe Mathez, Project Director; at the RMAH, Alexandra de Poorter, Executive Director and Serge Lemaitre, Curator, Collections from the Americas. Pointe-à-Callière also wishes to thank its sponsors: Air Canada Cargo, InterContinental Montréal, Tourisme Montréal and La Presse. A CD with the sound tales played in the exhibition is available in the Museum Shop. The exhibition will run from April 20 to October 22, 2017.

Pointe-à-Callière is subsidized by the City of Montréal.


SOURCE Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal Museum of Archaelogy and History

For further information: Media: Pointe-à-Callière, Marilyne Lévesque, Director of Communications and Marketing,, T. 514 872-9124