« We do not want to tear gold and minerals out of the earth nor make their epidemic fumes fall back on us. We just want the sky to be clear so that we can see the stars when night falls. »

Yanomami belongings hanging under the roof of the communal house: woven basket dyed with Achiote

« We people of the forest only have pleasure in the evocation of generous men. This is why we possess few things, and we are satisfied with that.

But the white people are other people than us. Their merchandise is also not as precious as they say. It is only their great fear of lacking it that makes them weigh down its value.

They only set their gaze on what surrounds them: merchandise, television, and money. This is why they ignore us and are so unconcerned that we die of their epidemic fumes.

Today our enemies are the gold prospectors, the cattle ranchers, and all those who want to seize our land. »

– Yanomami spokesman and shaman Davi Kopenawa

Photo: Gold mining destruction in the Amazon Rainforest
“The gold miners are destroying the forest” – drawing on paper – Anaomi 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 as well as discount retailers worldwide.  

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…


And please give gifts that don’t destroy nature and the lives of indigenous peoples!

Please watch this 3 minute 45 second film showing a Yanomami comunal house in Amazonas, Venezuela and the art exhibitions and fire sculpture performance created to protest ongoing destruction of the rainforest and the degradation of indigenous lives:

Please also watch this 48 second film of the light installation « Yanomami shamans struggle against xawara smoke of epidemics » included here:


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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2 Responses to « We do not want to tear gold and minerals out of the earth nor make their epidemic fumes fall back on us. We just want the sky to be clear so that we can see the stars when night falls. »

  1. Pingback: Gold mining destruction in the Amazon Rainforest – Gold mining and the indiscriminate use of mercury to ferret out gold are turning swaths of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems into a poisoned, nightmarish moonscape! — Barbara Crane Navarro | Ne

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