Green Chronicles: every week, the ecological crisis seen by the creators. Cinema, novels, documentaries, essays, exhibitions… how culture is facing the challenges of the planet. Today “The Yanomani Struggle”, photographic exhibition …
Green Chronicles: every week, the ecological crisis seen by the creators. Cinema, novels, documentaries, essays, exhibitions… how culture is facing the challenges of the planet. Today “The Yanomani Struggle”, photographic exhibition and book by Claudia Andujar.
They are among the last lords of the Amazon rainforest; the Yanomanis are one of the greatest peoples of the jungle, the fiercest, the most isolated too, on a huge territory straddleing Brazil and Venezuela. The photographer Claudia Andujar has rubbed shoulders with them and chronicled them since the 1970s, delivering with their lives a work exhibited at the Fondation Cartier which confines to “total art” by the extent of its subject matter and the forms it borrows. A Holocaust refugee living in Brazil, Andujar discovered the Yanomanis later, and made their gratitude the mission of his life.
At the same time photographer, visual artist, videographer, she is also an ethnologist and writer to collect the dreams and cosmogony of the various shamans, then above all activist to protect the rights of Indians in the face of the Brazilian administration. His photographs, of great plastic power, loaded with poetry and even dreaming, are probably among the most beautiful ever delivered to an Amazonian tribe. But the subject far exceeds the simple quality of the clichés. Militant work and art percolate, enrich and nourish each other. Thus this series of modest identity photos taken during a humanitarian mission of vaccination, where the film film, underexposed, blackened the faces and then the bodies until they completely erased them – a way to illustrate the agonizing destiny of a people gradually pushed back to the depths of the jungle and then obscured by settlers, diseases, road tracers, lumberjacks, illegal gold miners and now the government of populist President Jair Bolsonaro, known for having shamelessly suggested that Indians “are not human beings like us” …
A physical and mental osmosis with the jungle
Faced with this growing litany of threats and contempt, Claudia Andujar responds with beauty and intelligence. Her images, as well as the texts and drawings she has collected, gradually allow the mental universe of the Yanomanis to penetrate, understand them, and perceive a little better their essential relationship to the forest that surrounds them. The intuition that this people of hunter-gatherers lives in a physical but above all mental osmosis with the jungle. She protects and feeds them, but in return, they dedicate themselves to being their guardians. Their culture is the setting for nature, and is
constantly a reflection of it. Claudia Andujar’s artistic approach emphasizes how respecting one is to preserve the other.
Also to be seen in the Paris Match dated March 12, the report of photographer Sebastiao Salgado at the Yanomanis.
“La Lutte Yanomani,” exhibition at the Fondation Cartier until May 10, 2020, at 261 Boulevard Raspail, Paris 14th.
Illustrated catalogue, by Claudia Andujar, Thyago Nogeira and Bruce Albets, 169 pages, 40 euros.