A Powerful New Exhibition Organized by Fondation Cartier Sheds Light on the Art and Activism of the Amazon’s Indigenous Yanomami People, William Van Meter, δημοσίευση Artnet News [7/2/2023]Marilena Pateraki
“The Yanomami Struggle,” which opened this week at the Shed in New York, focuses on the Indigenous people of the Amazon and their ongoing fight to survive. Their plight is a universal story and an unflinching meditation on the human condition—both its virtues and its most depraved depths—and the cycles of destruction that define us. At the show’s heart is the power of art to transcend but also its limitations. The show runs through April 16 and is presented by Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain.
An estimated 30,000 Yanomami live in territory that extends from northern Brazil to Venezuela. Their existence is threatened by illegal mining. The exhibition opens at a precipitous moment: the Brazilian government has declared a public health emergency and its new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has accused his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, of committing “genocide” against the Yanomami.
The 91-year-old photographer Claudia Andujar has been chronicling this heart-rending saga for over 50 years. Her remarkable images, almost 200 of them, are the focus of “The Yanomami Struggle.”
The show opens with a window onto paradise, the Yanomami in their world—sans outside influence. Sometimes the color-saturated images seem otherworldly, and it’s not because one is viewing a different culture. She began documenting the Yanomami in 1971 as a photojournalist, but long before that she dabbled in abstract painting.
Her techniques veered drastically from reportage as she began to utilize infrared film and colored filters, even smearing Vaseline on her lens to imbue her images with the feeling of the Yanomami state of mind. One yano, or collective house, lies in a sci-fi field of electric magenta. In another image, she captured a shaman’s blur from imbibing the hallucinogen yakoana to manifest the spirits.