EXHIBITION “Pas de Cartier !” – Yanomami and Trees – Gold Mining and Gold Luxury items / COVID-19 propagated by gold miners… September 3 through October 4 2020

 “Pas de Cartier !”
photo montage
Barbara Crane Navarro

How does Cartier reconcile their gold extraction business model that destroys trees and degrades indigenous lives with their art exhibitions “We the Trees” and “The Yanomami Struggle” ?

“Conquest of Nature”
assemblage – 100×150   
Catherine-Claire Grenier 

Articles published during the Fondation Cartier’s exhibition “The Yanomami Struggle” (January 30 to September 13, 2020) ignore the fact that the Cartier Foundation “supports” a people, the Yanomami, who are victim of an activity, dirty gold extraction, which precisely enriches the Cartier luxury jewelry company! 

The same can be asked of the Cartier Foundation’s precedent exhibition “We the Trees” (July 12 through 10 November 2019).  Which trees, exactly, were they referring to when it’s so obviously necessary to uproot the trees and poison the rivers and soil in order to extract gold for Cartier watches, jewelry and accessories? Tens of thousands of rainforest trees must be uprooted, hundreds of tons of soil mined and mixed with dozens of tons of toxic environmental pollutants that contaminate indigenous lands for that one special gold ring…

“A gold mining site with dead trees and polluted water”
drawing on paper
Namowë Yanomami 

Online, during the closure due to COVID-19, the Cartier Foundation advertised: “These times give us the opportunity to explore subjects we find relevant, such as the environment or the defense of indigenous peoples, and to bring them into focus again …or soon, as a tribute to trees, those great protagonists of the living world.

And “During this confinement period, Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret share with us their latest film, “My Tree”. Produced for the exhibition “We the Trees” (2019), this film gives a voice to the men and women who are surrounded by them, cherish them, observe them, defend them, care for them, admire them, and who are also a little tired of living with them.

“Yanomami man walking through the forest to the river” 
drawing on paper
Terowë Yanomami

The Yanomami are not at all tired of living with trees and have petitioned the Brazilian government to force tens of thousands of gold miners who are destroying the forests and poisoning the rivers out of the Yanomami indigenous territory. 

Brazil’s Vice President, General Mourao, claimed that he would help but now states that removing “3,500” illegal gold miners from Yanomami lands, as he promised, is a “herculean task” but in reality, 25 thousand gold miners are ravaging Yanomami territory & propagating coronavirus.

“In the forest” 
drawing on paper
Meromi Yanomami

A Yanomami spokesman, Davi Kopenawa, evoked the dangers of “Cannibal Gold” in his book “The Falling Sky” which was published in 2013, when gold miners brought measles and other diseases to indigenous peoples but before COVID-19 began decimating Yanomami communities: “The things that whites so eagerly extract from the depths of the earth, ores and oil … are evil and dangerous things, impregnated with coughs and fevers … They already have more than enough goods. Despite this, they continue to dig the soil relentlessly, like giant armadillos. They do not think that, in doing so, they will be as contaminated as we are. They are mistaken. It is not for nothing that whites today want to excavate the floor of our forest. The whites spread their epidemic smokes all over the forest for nothing, without realizing anything, just pulling the gold and other minerals from the land. …They only care about cooking metal and oil to manufacture their goods. …Xawara epidemic thrives where whites manufacture their objects and store them. But whites’ ears don’t hear the words of the spirits! They only pay attention to their own speech and never realize that it is the same epidemic smoke that poisons and devours their own children. Their great men continue to send their sons-in-law and their children to pluck the evil things that spread the diseases from which we all suffer from the darkness of the earth. Thus, the breath of smoke from the burned ores spreads everywhere. What white people call “the whole world” is corrupted by the factories that produce all their goods, their machines and their engines. … Even the trees get sick. Becoming ghosts, they lose their leaves, they dry out and break on their own. Fish also die from the same cause, in the dirty water of rivers. With the smoke from ores, oil, bombs and atomic things, whites will make the earth and the sky sick.”

“Jaguar’s forest”
drawing on paper
Meromi Yanomami


The online ad for the Cartier Foundation continues: “To lift our mood in these times of confinement, Bernie Krause wishes to share with the Cartier Fondation’s audience a unique 60-minute sound immersion into the Amazon. Echoing “The Yanomami Struggle” he brings us at the heart of the forest, in a natural habitat similar to Yanomami territories, in which a very close attention to natural sounds, animal vocalisations in particular, is an essential component of the Yanomami way of life.

As with many of Bernie Krause’s recordings, this soundscape and its bio-phony recorded in 1990 can no longer be heard today, for this natural habitat has since then been heavily compromised by intense logging and mining.”

“Revolução Indígena” 
 screen print – 85,5×52
Amazoner Arawak


Cartier jewelry, watches and accessories are not for sale at the Cartier Foundation, but the Foundation was created with funds from the sale of luxury jewelry items and is underwritten by the Cartier company to the tune of around five million euros yearly according to the Cartier Foundation’s General Director Hervé Chandès. In an interview by Caroline Lebrun https://www.paris-art.com/herve-chandes-fondation-cartier/ Chandès states that “The Cartier Foundation is private, entirely funded by Cartier for its communications.

I was under the impression that the Cartier Foundation was a sort of museum, but communications for Cartier? Doesn’t that sound more like publicity than art? Would that infer that art is just a vehicle to sell more luxury products by giving them an aura of culture?  So, according to the Cartier Foundation, are the Yanomami and Trees: ART ? – THEATER ? – FOLKLORE ?…or the very definition of GREENWASHING ? !

“Yanomami shaman invoking hekura spirits to stop intruders from destroying the forest”
drawing on paper
Wacayowë Yanomami 

As much as 75% of the gold extracted each year is used for jewelry, watches and other vain and futile status symbols sold by Cartier and other corporations in the luxury industry worldwide. Studies have shown that gold mining asphyxiates the biosphere, preventing trees and plants from growing back in areas that were excavated for mining pits. Recovery rates for trees in the Amazon rainforest are very low and the disturbingly high levels of mercury due to gold mining are destroying the forest beyond any hope of recovery. 

“Trees in Oil” 
oil on canvas – 57×76
Constance Mallinson 

During the COVID-19 confinement in France, the Cartier Foundation stated: “During confinement, the Cartier Foundation’s garden was able to take a rest and flourish out of sight. New measures are being put in place to preserve all of its beauty and its fragile ecosystem.

The same consideration was not given to the Amazon rainforest’s fragile ecosystem during the pandemic, however. Gold mining in the Amazon rainforest has attained “epidemic” proportions especially in indigenous territories. An increase in the price of gold has ignited a gold rush, with hundreds of thousands of illegal miners pouring into indigenous territories in the hope of striking it rich.

Xawara epidemic smoke killing a Yanomami community”
drawing on paper
Anoami Yanomami

Meanwhile, as of July 29th, there are 335 confirmed cases of the virus and 31 suspected cases as well as five confirmed and four suspected Yanomami deaths from COVID-19. Yanomami leaders are blaming gold miners and the gold industry for the propagation of the virus and expressing their fears of genocide.

“Empty Yanomami shabono because of xawara” 
model – 12×48
Jean José Cadhilac 

The illustrated “Young Audience GUIDE” for the Cartier Foundation’s “We the Trees” exhibition is available online and describes in detail the 24 types of healthy trees in the Cartier Foundation’s garden created in 1994 by artist Lothar Baumgarten, the “Theatrum Botanicum” (‘Theatre of Plants’). “With 200 wild and natural plant species, mostly indigenous, positioned around the majestic cedar of Lebanon planted by Chateaubriand in 1823.

View of the garden of the Fondation Carter – “Theatrum Botanicum” by Lothar Baumgarten and the building by Jean Nouvel – Photo: Luc Boegly

The “Young Audience GUIDE” continues with the following information for children and their parents: “DEFORESTATION In many cultures, the forest is considered a whole person, a spirit, a deity. She is celebrated and thanked for everything she offers (air, food, habitat, medicine, etc.). Today, its balance is threatened: some people seem to have forgotten that our survival depends on the well-being of trees. Understanding that we are all members of the same community, that of the “living”, should invite us to reflect on our actions and act more responsibly.

“Happy forest”
drawing on paper
Meromi Yanomami

The Cartier Foundation asks another vital question:  “TREE, MY BEAUTIFUL TREE Trees are our ancestors and have always been a source of fascination and inspiration for all human societies, whether in the field of science, the arts or letters. But what is it that amazes us so much about them? Besides the beauty of their foliage and their impressive dimensions, trees also seem to pose metaphysical questions : what is our place in relation to these giants of the living world?”

“Yanomami shamans struggle against xawara – smoke of epidemics” 
installation – mixed media
Barbara Crane Navarro

My response would be that after reflecting on our actions and deciding to act more responsibly the result would obviously be refusing to buy or wear gold items in order to protect the Yanomami and the trees. 

How about you? What would your response be?

“Yanomami hunter dreaming in his hammock in a forest hunting shelter”
drawing on paper
Namowë Yanomami 

And  the « Young Audience GUIDE » continues: “Do you know the Amazon? It is a huge forest in South America and the Yanomami have been one of the people who inhabit it, probably for almost 5,000 years! They believe in the spirit of the forest which gives them everything they need to live. They only change the minimum in nature so as not to harm it and preserve it as best as possible.

“Yanomami girl targeted” 
photo on canvas – 20×30
Barbara Crane Navarro 

Yes, the best way to not harm and instead preserve nature is to forego buying and wearing gold jewelry, watches and accessories!

Pas de Cartier !

“Conquest of the Americas” 
assemblage – 20×23
Angle & Dawn

As a speaker at the inauguration of “The Yanomami Struggle” said: “This is the ultimate episode of the conquest of the Americas. The accumulation of gold permitted Europe to develop. We must mobilize to avoid the disappearance of indigenous peoples.” – and the disappearance of the forests essential to life!

Pas de Cartier !

“SOS Amazônia/Espíritos da Floresta”
Triptych – Acrylic paintings on rigid paper – 3 x 1mx1m
Sérgio Bello

EXHIBITION “Pas de Cartier !”

September 3 through October 4 2020 

Sculpture, photo, painting – Barbara Crane Navarro

Screen print – Amazoner Arawak

Painting – Sérgio Bello, Constance Mallinson

Assemblage – Catherine-Claire Greiner, Angle & Dawn

Model – Jean José Cadilhac

Drawing – Yanomami artists

Film projection – Barbara Crane Navarro, Ramiro Magalhães 

Sound – César Antonio Estay Herrera

Bridge Gallery, Nemours, 77140,  France

To schedule a visit at the Bridge Gallery, please contact me here: b.c.navarro.art@gmail.com

About Barbara Crane Navarro - Rainforest Art Project

I'm a French artist living near Paris. From 1968 to 1973 I studied at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, then at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California, for my BFA. My work for many decades has been informed and inspired by time spent with indigenous communities. Various study trips devoted to the exploration of techniques and natural pigments took me originally to the Dogon of Mali, West Africa, and subsequently to Yanomami communities in Venezuela and Brazil. Over many years, during the winters, I studied the techniques of traditional Bogolan painting. Hand woven fabric is dyed with boiled bark from the Wolo tree or crushed leaves from other trees, then painted with mud from the Niger river which oxidizes in contact with the dye. Through the Dogon and the Yanomami, my interest in the multiplicity of techniques and supports for aesthetic expression influenced my artistic practice. The voyages to the Amazon Rainforest have informed several series of paintings created while living among the Yanomami. The support used is roughly woven canvas prepared with acrylic medium then textured with a mixture of sand from the river bank and lava. This supple canvas is then rolled and transported on expeditions into the forest. They are then painted using a mixture of acrylic colors and Achiote and Genipap, the vegetal pigments used by the Yanomami for their ritual body paintings and on practical and shamanic implements. My concern for the ongoing devastation of the Amazon Rainforest has inspired my films and installation projects. Since 2005, I've created a perfomance and film project - Fire Sculpture - to bring urgent attention to Rainforest issues. To protest against the continuing destruction, I've publicly set fire to my totemic sculptures. These burning sculptures symbolize the degradation of nature and the annihilation of indigenous cultures that depend on the forest for their survival.
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16 Responses to EXHIBITION “Pas de Cartier !” – Yanomami and Trees – Gold Mining and Gold Luxury items / COVID-19 propagated by gold miners… September 3 through October 4 2020

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another great post. Thank you! Pas de Cartier.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Demais seu trabalho, Bárbara!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dawn Cross says:

    >> Question:

    “My response would be that after reflecting on our actions and deciding to act more responsibly, the result would be refusing to buy or wear gold items to protect the Yanomami and the trees. How about you? What would your response be?”

    >> Answer:

    My choice has indisputably been to spread the word of active choice. From my point of view, each $ € Kr etc. is a ballot. (In Swedish “Valsedel” directly translates into “Choice-Note”). I’m saying that we have power in choosing what we endorse, what we enable, what we support, and what we digest. At the same time, now, five years in, I’m encouraging the creation of jewelry (i.e., reminders for those whose “love language” equals gifts and publicly displayed affection) made instead by repurposing human-made objects found in our mother nature’s soil. I liken this ongoing process to that of cleaning infected wounds.

    Using common metals instead (steel, silver, iron) that we gather, clean and bend without having our sisters and brothers of the Yanomami’s blood on our hands is by far a better choice than wearing a shiny link between ourselves, genocide and greenwashing to affirm our already existing and non-disputable worthiness of attention, appreciation, and love.

    Next, I’d ultimately like to plant trees in each place we find a metal or glass object disposed of in a neglectful manner.

    Pas de Cartier!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. czls says:

    Clearly, Cartier wants to make all the money they can while appearing to be altruistic and the Yanomami and the trees are just a pretentious and self-serving veneer. When the jeweler and watchmaker Cartier opened the Fondation Cartier in 1984, the arrangement between luxury brands and art was still new. The socialist President, Mitterand, considered nationalizing Cartier and other luxury companies, as at that time ostentatious adornments were deemed politically incorrect – before the later era of showy, gaudy bling. Now, virtually all French luxury companies have their own art foundation. LVMH is doing the same with their art foundation, but they’re not (yet) using indigenous people and trees as sales promotion items…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, exactly! Beautifully said! It is our responsibility as consumers to honor the life of the forest, indigenous peoples and all of the living world and refuse to buy and use things that damage and degrade them!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. An edifying presentation of a catastrophic situation! Because consumerism allows hypocrisy, we must consider where each thing we want comes from, what are its costs for nature, for life. This is absolutely valid for the gold that is represented by the Cartier brand; gold that was extracted with death and disrespect for indigenous peoples and for nature. We have to ask ourselves, how are we complicit in each of these atrocities…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Yanomami tapiri, hunting and traveling shelter in the forest, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela. NO to Maduro’s Orinoco Mining Arc destruction of indigenous lands in Venezuela !!! | Barbara Crane Navarro

  8. Pingback: Capybara and child, rio Siapa, Amazonas, Venezuela – NO to Maduro’s Orinoco Mining Arc destruction of indigenous lands in Venezuela !!! | Barbara Crane Navarro

  9. Pingback: Herons perched in trees along the rio Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela – NO to Maduro’s Orinoco Mining Arc destruction of indigenous lands in Venezuela !!! | Barbara Crane Navarro

  10. Reblogged this on Barbara Crane Navarro and commented:

    As a speaker at the inauguration of “The Yanomami Struggle” said: “This is the ultimate episode of the conquest of the Americas. The accumulation of gold permitted Europe to develop. We must mobilize to avoid the disappearance of indigenous peoples.” – and the disappearance of the forests essential to life!


  11. Pingback: Forest reflection, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela – NO to Maduro’s Orinoco Mining Arc destruction of indigenous lands in Venezuela !!! | Barbara Crane Navarro

  12. Pingback: Namowë in the canoe with his monkey, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela – NO to Maduro’s Orinoco Mining Arc destruction of indigenous lands in Venezuela !!! | Barbara Crane Navarro

  13. Pingback: « Our xapiri spirits are very worried to see the land become ghost » | Barbara Crane Navarro

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