(this page was last updated in April 2023)
Santa Helena de Minas, Brazil.
Lives and works in Ladainha, Brazil.
PIPA Prize 2020 nominee.
PIPA Online 2020 winner.
Works in the PIPA Institute Collection
My name is Isael Maxakali, I live in Aldeia Nova, municipality of Ladainha – MG. I’ve made a lot of movies for people everywhere to watch and know that we Tikmū’ūn exist. I also really like making drawings of animals, fish, yãmĩyxop spirits and other things too. I think that, with my work, I grow and strengthen the Tikmū’ūn. If I get known, they do too. If I win a prize, they win too!
Video produced by Do Rio Filmes, exclusively for PIPA Prize 2020:
“Grin”, 2018. Duration: 40’53”
“Konãgxeka: o Dilúvio Maxakali”, 2016. Duration: 12’50”
“Yãmîy”, 2012. Duration: 15′
“Xokxop Pet”, 2009. Duration: 7’15”
“Kotkuphi”, 2012. Duration: 29’53”
“Xupapoynãg”, 2012. Duration: 15’54”
“Mîmãnãm: mõgmõka xi xûnîn”, 2012. Duration: 17’39”
“Yiax Kaax – Fim do Resguardo”, 2010. Duration: 24′
“Dia do índio na Aldeia Verde Maxakali”, 2010. Duration: 27’16”
“Kakxop Pit Hãmkoxuk Xop Te Yumugãhã (Iniciação dos Filhos da Terra)”. Duration: 47′
“Quando os yamiy vem dançar conosco”. Duration: 50’38”
My name is Isael Maxakali. I was born in the village of Água Boa, municipality of Santa Helena de Minas (MG). When I was little I hunted a lot with bodoque and arrow. My mother planted gardens and I helped. We planted corn, manioc, pumpkin and beans, took our share and sold the rest to whites in the city of Santa Helena. Whites bought cheap from us and then sold more expensive to their relatives, but they bought it anyway. The city of Santa Helena was far from the village, but the Tikmu’un took seeds and potatoes to sell and, with the money, bought rice, meat, coffee, bread and returned on foot to their villages.
When I was little I didn’t want to study! I really liked to hunt with a bodoque, but my mother insisted on me and that’s why I went to school. I studied in my language first. I was too lazy to go to school, but my mother only gave food to my sisters who attended, so I started to go. That’s how I started to read and write in the Tikmũ’ũn language. When I married Sueli, I went to live in my aunt Noemia’s village and we made a house there. But in my aunt’s village there was no school and the children had to go to study in uncle Otávio’s village. But his village was far away and my aunt talked to the white people who worked at the school and they called me to teach the children there. That’s how I became a teacher in the village. Some time later, professor Rosângela, from UFMG, invited us to participate in a large event in Belo Horizonte. The year was 2000. There were many white people and relatives of other people there, but I did not know how to speak the language of the white people and did not eat garlic. But the whites served us food with garlic and that’s how I opened up and learned to speak their language. Today I know how to speak their language, but not so much. Today I eat garlic, but not so much.
I have returned to Belo Horizonte other times since then. In one of them, I met the relative Divino Xavante, who taught me to shoot a little bit in a workshop in BH. Then I took other courses and learned better. Today I’ve filmed a lot of things, I’ve made a lot of films for people everywhere to watch. I really like to shoot! In my films, I want to show our different culture to whites to know that we exist and that our relatives exist as well. I want to show our beautiful and true culture to whites to see us on DVD and to know that we exist. And when they want to show a film of mine, call me to go to the big city. I also really like making drawings of animals, fish, yãmiyxop spirits and other things too. There are our yãmiyxop spirits of manioc (kotkuphi), monkey (po’op), bat (xūnīm), parrot (putuxop), tapir (ãmãxux) and others. It is the yãmiyxop that strengthens us, that heals people and blows bad diseases away from our villages. They feed the Tikmũ’ũn with game meat and the Tikmũ’ũn feed them too. I think that, with my work, I grow and strengthen the Tikmũ’ũn. If I get known, they do too. If I win a prize, they win too! That’s just what I wanted to talk about.
– “Mundos indígenas”, Espaço do Conhecimento da UFMG, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– “Vaivém”, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil de São Paulo, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– “Yãmiyhex: as mulheres-espírito”, co-director, directed by Sueli and Isael Maxakali, made by Associação Filmes de Quintal
– “Konãgxeka: o Dilúvio Maxakali”, animation short film, co-director, directed by Isael Maxakali and Charles Bicalho, made by Pajé Filmes
– “Kakxop pit hãmkoxuk xop te yũmũgãhã”: a iniciação dos filhos dos espíritos da terra, director, made by Associação Filmes de Quintal
– “Xupapoynãg”, director of the short movie, made by Pajé Filmes
– “Kotkuphi”, director medium-length film, made by Pajé Filmes
– “Yãmîy”, director of the short movie, made by Pajé Filmes
– “Quando os yãmîy vêm cantar conosco”, co-director, directed by Isael Maxakali, Sueli Maxakali and Renata Otto Diniz
– “Yiax Kaax – Fim do Resguardo”, director medium-length film, made by Pajé Filmes
– “Xokxop pet”, director of the short movie, made by Pajé Filmes
– “Tatakox”, director of the short movie, made by Associação Filmes de Quintal
– Prêmio Carlos Reichenbach of Melhor Longa [Best Picture] of Mostra Olhos Livres, by the Júri Jovem of 23ª Mostra de Cinema de Tiradentes
– Maxakali, Isael et alli. 2008. Hitupmã’ax: curar. Belo Horizonte: Faculdade de Letras da UFMG, Cipó Voador.
- Check out the artworks recently acquired by the PIPA Institute
- Brazilian artists participate in the group show "Cuando no hay sombra es meiodía"
- PIPA Prize 2020 catalogue is now available for download
- Conversation between Luiz Camillo Osorio and Isael Maxakali
- Meet the winner of PIPA Online 2020!
- MEET THE 72 NOMINEES FOR PIPA PRIZE 2020