The Yanomami Struggle, a comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the collaboration and friendship between artist and activist Claudia Andujar and the Yanomami people, one of the largest Indigenous groups living in Amazonia today, has landed at New York’s The Shed with support from The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and the Instituto Moreira Salles.
To mark the mounting at The Shed — which incorporates Andujar’s images spanning over decades alongside art and video installations created by members of the Yanomami community — the show’s collaborators hosted a talk between Claudia Andujar; Hervé Chandès, artistic managing director of the Fondation Cartier; Alex Poots, artistic director of The Shed; Davi Kopenawa, shaman and Yanomami leader, and other exhibit collaborators.
“Thirty years ago we were violated by illegal miners. In these images you can see the struggle of our survival, the struggle for our existence,” Kopenawa said, adding that is was urgent that Americans and westerners see what is happening in their remote community. The shaman brought several of his community, artists themselves, each of whom talked about why it was important for the exhibition to be shown in New York. Kopenawa called Andujar — who has not only documented but has championed and protected Yanomami by working with the Brazilian government to highlight their situation — a second mother to his people.
The exhibit at The Shed has been expanded to include more than 80 drawings and paintings by Yanomami artists André Taniki, Ehuana Yaira, Joseca Mokahesi, Orlando Nakɨ uxima, Poraco Hɨko, Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, and Vital Warasi, as well as Kopenawa. Visitors also encounter new video works by contemporary Yanomami filmmakers Aida Harika, Edmar Tokorino, Morzaniel Ɨramari and Roseane Yariana. These works appear alongside more than 200 photographs by Claudia Andujar that trace the artist’s encounters with the Yanomami and continue to raise visibility for their struggle to protect their land, people and culture.
Since the 2000s a new generation of Yanomami artists has begun to produce and showcase their work outside of the territory, establishing a new perspective that is now incorporated into the exhibition. This multilayered story includes the contributions of several other individuals and organizations, including Hutukara Associação Yanomami, Instituto Socioambiental, and anthropologist Bruce Albert (Fondation Cartier’s consultant and coauthor of “The Falling Sky”).
“Those who do not know the Yanomami will know them through these images,” Kopenawa said. “My people are in them. You have never visited them, but they are present here. It is important to me and to you, your sons and daughters, young adults, children to learn to see and respect my Yanomami people of Brazil who have lived in this land for many years.”
The immersive exhibition runs from Friday to April 13 at The Shed.