Discovering the Artistry of Indigenous Photographer Renato Soares

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‘Anthropology of Beauty’, this recognition stems from Renato Soares’ unwavering commitment to unveiling the beauty and wisdom inherent in indigenous customs. Soares achieves this through the trust and passion cultivated during his extensive research spanning over 30 years, encompassing more than 90 ethnicities across Brazil. The photographer’s lens transcends, inviting us into the lives of indigenous people seamlessly integrated with nature, depicting the sublime ways of parents teaching their children to read the stars. It also sheds light on their resilience against the brutality of colonization, a legacy that unfortunately endures 500 years after the arrival of the Portuguese and Spanish in the Americas.

A protégé of Orlando Villas Bôas, the documentarian staunchly advocates for the demarcation of indigenous territories enshrined in the 1988 Constitution. Simultaneously, he tirelessly works towards preserving indigenous culture as a Brazilian historical heritage. Since 1991, Soares has undertaken the ambitious project ‘Ameríndios do Brasil,’ with the mission to document all indigenous populations in the country—more than 305 ethnicities and 274 languages—spanning from the northernmost point in Oiapoque to the southernmost point in Chuí.

Renato Soares has made significant contributions to esteemed publications like National Geographic and Scientific American. Within Brazil, his work has graced the walls of prestigious venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo and the galleries of the Caixa Econômica Federal Cultural Center, featuring itineraries across multiple capitals. Exhibitions have also adorned the Amazon Museum (MUSA). Internationally, his photographic showcases have garnered attention at the Palais de la Découverte in Paris, embarking on tours through Italy and Germany. Noteworthy exhibitions in North America include presentations at the New Gallery in Los Angeles and Canada.

Renato Soares’ extensive contribution to Anthropology, Archaeology, and Museology, coupled with an extensive Image Bank, have yielded a prolific body of academic work, documentaries, and dozens of educational and art books.
Beyond documentation, the project holds a social mission, contributing financially to indigenous villages. Notably, one-third, or 33%, of the proceeds from each photograph’s sale goes back to the tribe’s association.

By Into.Gallery | December 2023

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