A Plea for Nature and a message from a Yanomami shaman

Yanomami at the edge of the river, Amazonas, Venezuela

« I thought that if the white people could hear me, they would convince the government to not let the forest be destroyed… Now the gold miners stink up the forest with the fumes from their motors and the vapors from the gold and mercury that they burn together. Now we fear the gold miners’ malaria, which is also very fierce…                  The people of the forest’s breath of life are fragile in the face of these xawara epidemic fumes. 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. » – Yanomami spokesman and shaman Davi Kopenawa

A forest destroyed by gold miners

« Currently, companies and governments can destroy nature with impunity, and we can only try to restore it after the fact. But if ecocide becomes a crime, we can hold them accountable beforehand. » – Liliana Jauregui, Senior Expert in Environmental Justice who is working on a procedure to declare ecocide an international crime at the International Criminal Court (ICC), so that the destruction of nature can be fought through law. Their goal is to make ecocide a crime, just like genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This way, those responsible can be held to account for the destruction of ecosystems.

This issue is of paramount importance to indigenous communities who have an ancestral connection to nature; rivers and forests, which are too often under pressure from extractive industries like gold and diamonds. Indigenous communities and environmental defenders risk their lives to stand up for nature, which they – and all of us – depend on.

Yanomami holding the cremated remains of their dead after their family was slaughtered by gold miners in the community of Haximu / « Xawara epidemic smoke killing a Yanomami community » – drawing on paper – Anoami Yanomami

Gold extraction: 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 land and water sources in order to extract 1 1/2 grams of gold per ton of polluted soil for that one special gold ring, item of gold jewelry, gold watch or gold accessory…



It’s up to us to choose a way to adorn and decorate ourselves that doesn’t destroy forests and the lives of other people!



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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3 Responses to A Plea for Nature and a message from a Yanomami shaman

  1. Pingback: A Valentine’s Day Plea for Nature and a message from a Yanomami shaman — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

  2. Pingback: The Earth is not a commodity and we are All part of Nature | Barbara Crane Navarro

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