Stepping Softly on the Earth is a research-led exhibition bringing together the work of 20, mostly non-Western and Indigenous, artists. 

The exhibition, presented in the Northumbria University Gallery at Baltic, invites you to consider human’s relationship to land and territory from a decolonial and anti-colonial perspective.

The exhibition showcases a range of artistic practices that approach our relationship to land and territory through the understanding of the world as a pluriverse – a world in which many worlds coexist and support each other. In this world, all things and beings are interconnected and human and nature are not separated.Stepping Softly on the Earth includes artworks exploring questions around ancestral cosmovisions, spirituality, inter-species communication, embodied knowledge, oral traditions, autonomy, mapping and legal frameworks.

The title of the exhibition revisits a quote that Indigenous activist, writer and thinker Ailton Krenak brings to life in his 2022 book Ancestral Future. Krenak quotes a speech attributed to Chief Seattle (c.1786–1866) in which he says that his people ‘step softly on the Earth’, for they are connected to it, and invites the colonisers to teach their children to do so.

Aline Baiana (Brazil), Marwa Arsanios (Lebanon), Denilson Baniwa (Baniwa / Brazil), Ursula Biemann (Switzerland), Shatabdi Chakrabarti (India), Solmaz Daryani (Iran), Cian Dayrit (Philippines), Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts (Bangladesh), Shereoanawe Hakihiiwe (Yanomami / Venezuela), Karachi LaJamia – Shahana Rajani & Zahra Malkani (Pakistan), The Karrabing Film Collective (Australia), Takumã Kiukuro (Kuikuro / Brazil), Queenie McKenzie (Australia), Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (Australia), Dharmendra Prasad (India), Naomi Rincón Gallardo (Mexico), Taller Leñateros (Mexico), Tizintizwa (Nadir Bouhmouch and Soumeya Ait Ahmed) (Morrocco), Roy Underwood (Australia), and Leonel Vásquez (Colombia). 

This exhibition is supported by 
Pro Helvetia, Jhaveri Contemporary, and Samdani Art Foundation.

Stepping Softly on the Earth evolved from Baltic’s Research and Development project Cosmovisions on Land and Entangled Futures.

With additional support from the British Council through an International Collaboration Project Grant towards the research and development project titled Cosmovisions on Land and Entangled Futures.

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