A Classic Initiation Tale – The Amazon as Oz “Amazon Rainforest Magic The adventures of Namowë, a Yanomami boy”

Barbara Crane Navarro

illustration from “Amazon Rainforest Magic – The adventures of Namowë, a Yanomami boy”

From its opening pages, this engaging children’s book sets the scene of a world almost unimaginable in the 21st century, a lush, restive, tropical world alive with the spirits of animals and plants.

It begins inside a Yanomami dwelling. A shaman dances around a fire in the cobalt light, intent on a healing ritual. Yarima, a sick baby girl, lays in her mother’s hammock nearby. Meanwhile her 13-year-old brother, Namowë, waits in anticipation of the next days’ hunting trip, his first. But it is not to be.

Instead, he embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Plant, which the village shaman does not possess, in order to save his sister. With a nod to Dorothy’s journey to Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz, Namowe’s trip to Jaguar Mountain is punctuated by encounters with everything from…

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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 Classic Initiation Tale – The Amazon as Oz “Amazon Rainforest Magic The adventures of Namowë, a Yanomami boy”

  1. Pingback: A Classic Initiation Tale – The Amazon as Oz “Amazon Rainforest Magic The adventures of Namowë, a Yanomami boy” — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

  2. mizlatea says:

    Barbara, you simply must join StoryCircleNetwork.org!
    Share some of your amazing writings. Click on contests and if you have a new book for review, you might submit that as well.

    Happy tales to you!
    Shawn

    Liked by 1 person

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