• Dien Dien: To Feel the Other and Weave a Territory
    Gustavo Caboco, Manuela Omari Ima, and Romelia Angelica Papue Mayancha
    Brunno Douat and Ana María Durán Calisto
    a83, New York
    Apr 04, 2025 to May 18, 2025
    Gustavo Caboco, Brunno Douat, Ana María Durán Calisto, Manuela Omari Ima & Romelia Angelica Papue Mayancha

Omeñia Ima, “Embroidered map” as exhibited in “Dangerous Liaisons,” 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, “The Laboratory of the Future,” 2023. Natural fibers and pigments on a “wengo” sheet, 40 x 40 in. Photo: Brunno Douat

Deploying the a83 gallery as an infrastructure to support the emergence of silenced stories, Dien Dien explores how alternative methods of architectural representation can support the resilience efforts undertaken by non-hegemonic communities who endure sociopolitical violence in the Amazon. Created in collaboration with the Waorani women from the Tepapade and Tiwino communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the exhibition builds upon the project Surfacing—The Civilised Agroecological Forests of Amazonia featured at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia. The counter-maps and textile structures—embroidered and woven using natural elements gathered in the forest—are joined by documents unpacking their production processes and a set of screen prints—developed by artists and architects in collaboration with a83. The exhibition documents the entangled territorial and cosmological assemblages present in ancestral modes of being at odds with modern forms of extraction in the region using architectural tools of representation and analysis.

Gustavo Caboco is a multidisciplinary artist of the Wapishana people, engaging in visual arts, literature, and cinema. Caboco’s work encompasses diverse mediums—including drawing, painting, textiles, performance, photography, video, sound, and text—reflecting on the displacement of Indigenous bodies, (re)territorialization processes, and memory production. Caboco actively engages in anticolonial pedagogical activities within educational spaces, challenging hegemonic narratives of colonialism through performances in several American and European institutions. Most recently, he conducted the seminar Strengthening Threads at the British Museum. Caboco’s work has been extensively exhibited in São Paulo (Pinacoteca, Museu de Arte Moderna, Itau Cultural, SESC Pompéia, Millan), Rio de Janeiro (Museu de Arte Moderna, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil), and Curitiba (Museo Paranaense). In 2022, he was invited to the “aabaakwad” Indigenous meeting at the Sámi pavilion during the 59th International Art Exhibition–La Biennale di Venezia, and is the cocurator of the Brazilian Pavilion for the 60th edition, opening in 2024.

Ana María Durán Calisto is a designer, planner, and scholar from Quito, Ecuador. She is currently a visiting assistant professor at Yale University School of Architecture (YSoA), a PhD candidate in the urban planning department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a cofounder of Estudio A0, an award-winning practice responsible for the design of multiscalar, community-based projects. Durán Calisto has taught seminars and design studios in several architecture schools, including Harvard University, Columbia University, and Pratt. In 2022, she received the Mark Cousins Theory Award for her work on extractivism and the principles of ancestral urban ecologies. She coedited books, contributed chapters and articles to several publications, curated exhibitions, and advised governmental and non-governmental institutions on projects developed in the Amazon region. Most recently, Estudio A0’s project, Surfacing—The Civilised Agroecological Forests of Amazonia, was showcased at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia.

Brunno Douat is a designer, researcher, and curator currently working at The Museum of Modern Art in the Department of Architecture and Design. Douat holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture and urban studies, and received his master’s in environmental design from Yale School of Architecture (YSoA), where he investigated spatial strategies of endurance developed by Waorani communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. His research received funding from the Yale Tropical Resources Institute and the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library. Douat's work was featured in the project Surfacing—The Civilised Agroecological Forests of Amazonia, developed by Estudio A0 and Manuela Omari Ima, and showcased at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia. From 2019 to 2021, he led the Museu Paranaense architecture department, developing exhibition design projects and architecture investigations. His essay “On Curupira Steps: Lina Bo Bardi in Vila Velha” was published in the Cornell Journal of Architecture 12: After (Cornell AAP Publications, 2021).

Manuela Omari Ima is a Waorani leader born at the time when tewe was in bloom, according to her mother, in a site known as Tobekaweno located in the Tagaeri-Taromenane Intangible Zone near the borders of the Yasuni National Park, in Ecuadorian Amazon. Between 2006 and 2014, Ima was the president of the Association of Waorani Women from the Ecuadorian Amazon (AMWAE). She currently serves as an active leader and mediator in resolving conflicts in the region due to extractive activities in the group’s traditional territory. Her efforts shed light on the communities’ rights and the environmental threats from oil, mining, and logging operations. In 2012, Ima published her work Waorani Knowledge and Yasuní National Park: Plants, Health, and Well-being in the Amazon of Ecuador, disseminating the knowledge of native neotropical medicinal plants. Alongside Romelia Papue, Ima runs the art project Omere: Texturas de la Selva.

Romelia Angelica Papue Mayancha is an Indigenous Kichwa-Shuar photographer and entrepreneur. She is an administrator and cofounder of the artisanal venture Omere, texturas de la selva. Since 2004, Papue has worked with the Waorani nationality in the artisanal sector, currently managing the Ñänönani art store where unique pieces from Waorani, Kichwa, and Shuar women are marketed. In 2018, alongside Waorani and mestiza companions, she became part of the collective Mujeres Mirando, a platform to communicate the struggles of Waorani women through photographic exhibitions throughout Ecuador. In 2023, Papue collaborated with Estudio A0 and Manuela Omari Ima on the project Surfacing—The Civilised Agroecological Forests of Amazonia, showcased at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in social communication.