« They were standing in our way. If we had not taken over their forest, we would have no gold. » 

Photo: Yanomami woman with Genipa body paint and a tobacco wad in her lower lip – Barbara Crane Navarro

As the Yanomami spokesman Davi Kopenawa says in his book The Falling Sky

« The entire land of Brazil used to be occupied by people like us. Today it is nearly empty, and it is the same thing everywhere. The first people of the forest have nearly all disappeared. Those who still exist here and there are only the remainder of the great number that the white people killed long ago to seize their land. Then … these same white people didn’t feel afraid to become enamored with the objects whose owners they devoured as enemies.

Since then, they have kept these goods locked up in the glass of their museums to show their children what is left of those whom their elders killed. But when they grow up, won’t these children eventually ask: ‘Hou! These things are truly beautiful but why did you destroy the who possessed them?’ Then their fathers will answer: ‘Ma! If these people were still alive, we would still be poor. They were standing in our way. If we had not taken over their forest, we would have no gold.’ » 

For more information concerning « Gold Fever, COVID-19 and the Genocide of the Yanomami » please see 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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to « They were standing in our way. If we had not taken over their forest, we would have no gold. » 

  1. Pingback: « They were standing in our way. If we had not taken over their forest, we would have no gold. »  — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s