GOLD is nothing more than shiny dust in the mud, yet the white people can kill for that!

photo: Yanomami shamanic transformation – Barbara Crane Navarro

As the Yanomami spokesman Davi Kopenawa says in his book “The Falling Sky”:  “The white people spread their epidemic fumes throughout the entire forest…by tearing the gold and other minerals out of the earth. They do not want to give up their digging frenzy and their thought remains closed. All that matters to them is is cooking the metal to make merchandise.  Gold is nothing more than shiny dust in the mud, yet the white people can kill for that!

It is not gold or merchandise that makes the plants grow or feeds and fattens the game we hunt! All the white people’s merchandise will never be enough to exchange for the forest’s trees, fruits, animals and fish. The paper skins of their money will never be numerous enough to compensate for the value of its burned trees, its desiccated ground, and its dirty waters. Everything that grows and moves in the forest or under the waters, as well as the xapiri spirits and human beings, has a value far too important for the white people’s merchandise and money. Nothing is solid enough to restore the sick forest’s value. No merchandise can buy all the human beings devoured by the epidemic fumes.

If the gold miners dig everywhere like wild pigs, the forest’s rivers will soon be no more than miry backwaters, full of mud, motor oil, and trash. They also wash their gold powder in the streams, mixing it with mercury. All these dirty and dangerous things make the waters sick and the fish’s flesh soft and rotten. 

The smoke from the minerals is increasing wherever the white people are established. In the past, they lived very far away, in their cities. Now they have gotten closer to us and we are becoming fewer and fewer because their epidemic fumes are encircling us. Our xapiri spirits relentlessly try to drive them far from the forest, but they always return. For we shamans, it is a great torment not to be able to push this xawara smoke away. If we all die, no one will be able to compensate for the value of our dead. … The white people’s money and merchandise will not bring them back down among us!  And the devastated forest will never be able to be restored either, it will be lost for all time.”

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 GOLD is nothing more than shiny dust in the mud, yet the white people can kill for that!

  1. Pingback: GOLD is nothing more than shiny dust in the mud, yet the white people can kill for that! — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

  2. Pingback: GOLD is nothing more than shiny dust in the mud, yet the white people can kill for that! — Barbara Crane Navarro | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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