Jaider Esbell was one of the first fellows of the Affect and Colonialism Web Lab. In this capacity he co-curated – together with Luiza Prado – the digital exhibition “Systemic Affects – Eurocentrism As Periphery”.
Jaider was an artist, writer, cultural producer, curator and independent researcher. Jaider held various prizes in the fields of literature, cinema and visual arts. He lived between São Paulo (Brazil) and Boa Vista (Roraima, Brazil), where he also maintained a studio and his own gallery, the Jaider Esbell Gallery of Contemporary Indigenous Art.
Jaider belonged to the Makuxi indigenous people. He lived in Normandia (Roraima, Brazil) – known today as Terra Indígena Raposa Serra do Sol – until he was 18 years old. He then moved to Boa Vista, Roraima’s capital, to carry on with his formal education. Jaider graduated in Geography at Universidade Federal de Roraima in 2007. He published his first book Terreiro de Makunaima – Mitos, Lendas e Estórias em Vivências in 2010. His work centered around highlighting indigenous histories and traditions in contemporary art. He thematized indigenous ancestral legacies, decolonial utopias and called out attacks to indigenous rights, such as land-grabbing and violence – both physical and epistemic – against indigenous communities.
Together with other indigenous artists, he initiated the Contemporary Indigenous Art movement in 2013. He was featured as one of the highlights of this year’s São Paulo Art Biennial and made sure to bring his political message for indigenous rights to the fore, “so that white society listens to this reality it seeks to minimize and erase”, as he declared in an interview.
He died in São Paulo, Brazil, on 2 November 2021. There was and will be no one like him. His passion, wit, and deep understanding of art and activism will be missed deeply.