Raíz Común Awarded Tamaas Foundation Grant



[New York: June 28, 2021]  Ensayos is the recipient of a generous grant supporting the three-year project Raíz Común which combines indigenous language revitalization and ecological conservation through poetic means. An award from the Tamaas non-profit will support an open-ended translation process through which a core group of participants–writers, scientists, artists and Selk’nam indigenous activists–will establish indigenous meaning for ecological and cultural issues in Tierra del Fuego. Raíz Común is a “slow sisterly experiment in translation,” describes Camila Marambio, the founder of Ensayos, who also expresses her utmost gratitude to the artist Cecilia Vicuña who nominated Ensayos for the award. The project will begin with a discovery period connecting Selk’nam language study with issues of ecological importance in Tierra del Fuego, specifically the conservation of peat bogs by the Wildlife Conservation Society-Chile. This process will be led by Hema’ny Molina, a Selk’nam leader and writer, and Fernanda Olivares Molina, the first member of the community to return to Tierra del Fuego, Chile, from which the community was exiled in the late 19th and early 20th century. 

About Tamaas

Tamaas encourages and supports artists and creative thinkers to challenge their roles beyond that of witness. An inter-cultural association of earth arts justice, Tamaas invites collaborative engagement with the social imperatives of our times that call for subtle consciousness and an imaginative sensibility over the demands of profit. Tamaas is active through residencies, curatorial practices, collaborative projects and performances, an annual translation seminar and publications working to redistribute inequalities of power across disciplines.

Participant biographies:

Hema’ny Molina (Santiago, Chile) is a Selk’nam writer, poet, craftswoman and grandmother. Molina is president of the Selk’nam Corporation Chile, formed in 2015, which aims to dislodge the indigenous community from the stigma of “extinction.” The Covadonga Ona indigenous community gathers families of Selk’nam descendants who have maintained oral memory through the transmission of ancestral knowledge and connection over generations.

Fernanda Olivares (Porvenir, Chile), Hema’ny Molina’s daugther, is a Selk’nam woman and the president of the Hach Saye Foundation. She has a degree in hospitality management and is currently applying these skills to educate people in Tierra del Fuego about her culture.

Bárbara Saavedra (Santiago, Chile) is a biologist specializing in ecology and conservation and has been the director of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for Chile since 2005. She received her PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Chile. Recognized as one of Chile’s top 100 women leaders by the country’s leading newspaper, she has been director of the Ecological Society of Chile and member of the Civil Society Council of Institute of Human Rights of Chile, where she connects her vision of justice with biodiversity conservation. Her advocacy successes at WCS include the protection of 70,000 hectares of peatlands through the Chilean Ministry of Mining and the declaration of the Admiralty Sound as a Marine Protected Area.

Melissa Carmody (Punta Arenas, Chile) is a conservation biologist and the manager of WCS Chile’s Karukinka Park on the Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego. She has a Master’s in Environmental Conservation and Landscape Management from the University of Melbourne. She has worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society for eight years co-leading the areas of strategic conservation planning and effective protected area management.

Daniela Droguett (Punta Arenas, Chile) is a biologist and the regional director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Magallanes. She is co-author of a handful of scientific publications related to areas of high conservation value, ecosystem services, and specific species such as the black-browed albatross and the huemul. Her knowledge spans issues of conservation, biodiversity, management of protected areas, gender leadership and conflict management related to environmental issues.

Christy Gast (Amenia, New York) is an artist based in New York whose sculptures and video installations focus on issues of politics and aesthetics with regard to landscape. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA/P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Performa, Exit Art and Artist’s Space in New York, Pérez Art Museum of Miami, the Bass Museum, the de la Cruz Collection and Nina Johnson Gallery in Miami, Matucana 100 and Patricia Ready Gallery in Santiago, CL and the Kadist Art Foundation in Paris. She is faculty in the Nomad Interdisciplinary MFA program at the University of Hartford. 

 Camila Marambio (Papudo, Chile) founded Ensayos in 2010. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Royal Art Institute in Stockholm via The Seedbox: An Environmental Humanities Collaboratory, Linköping University, Sweden. She holds a PhD in Curatorial Practice from Monash University, Naarm/Melbourne, a M.A. in Modern Art: Curatorial Studies from Columbia University, NYC, and a Masters of Experiments in Art and Politics, Sciences Po, Paris. She is co-author of the books Slow Down Fast, A Toda Raja with Cecilia Vicuña (Errant Bodies Press, 2019) and Sandcastles: Softness as a New Planetary Ethics with Nina Lykke (forthcoming 2022).

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