Hervé Chandès, Artistic Managing Director of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and Alex Poots, Artistic Director of The Shed, are pleased to announce the North American debut of The Yanomami Struggle, a comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the collaboration and friendship between artist and activist Claudia Andujar and the Yanomami people, one of the largest Indigenous groups living in Amazonia today. On view February 3 – April 16, 2023 at The Shed in New York, the exhibition is curated by Thyago Nogueira, Head of Contemporary Photography at Instituto Moreira Salles, São Paulo, Brazil (IMS), with the guidance of shaman and Yanomami leader Davi Kopenawa. The show is organized by IMS, the Fondation Cartier, and The Shed in partnership with the Brazilian NGOs Hutukara Associação Yanomami and Instituto Socioambiental.
Following acclaimed presentations at the IMS (São Paulo), the Fondation Cartier (Paris), and the Barbican Centre (London), among other venues, the exhibition will be expanded at The Shed to include more than 80 drawings and paintings by Yanomami artists André Taniki, Ehuana Yaira, Joseca Mokahesi, Orlando Nakɨ uxima, Poraco Hɨko, Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe, and Vital Warasi, as well as shaman Davi Kopenawa. Visitors will also encounter new video works by contemporary Yanomami filmmakers Aida Harika, Edmar Tokorino, Morzaniel Ɨramari, and Roseane Yariana. These works will appear alongside more than 200 photographs by Claudia Andujar that trace the artist’s encounters with the Yanomami and continue to raise visibility for their struggle to protect their land, people, and culture. The dialogue established between the contemporary Yanomami artists’ work and Andujar’s photographs offers an unprecedented vision of Yanomami culture, society, and visual art. The contemporary Yanomami works will be shown in New York for the first time, offering the most extensive presentation of Yanomami art in the U.S. to date.
I think the most important thing is the chance to introduce people to another aspect of our world. At the same time, this other aspect of our world allows us to recognize ourselves in other human beings who deserve to live their lives as they wish and according to their own understanding of the world.
Claudia Andujar was born in Switzerland in 1931 and raised in Transylvania before immigrating to New York City in 1946 after escaping the Holocaust. She first moved to Brazil in 1955, where she started a career as a photographer. For over five decades, Andujar has been collaborating with the Yanomami people in defense of their rights and sovereignty. The Yanomami Struggle tells the story of Andujar’s relationship with the Yanomami people during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985), from their first encounter in 1971 to the transformation of her artistic practice into direct activism seven years later, when Andujar and other activists created the Commission for the Demarcation of the Yanomami Park (CCPY). Through the voice and guidance of shaman and leader Davi Kopenawa, the exhibition also narrates the Yanomami’s origins and maps their cosmovision, politics, and society. Davi’s friendship with Andujar since the 1980s is central to her ongoing relationship with the Yanomami. Alongside many other activists and organizations, they have worked with Yanomami communities and leaders against the invasion of Yanomami land, a fight that led to the protection of the Yanomami territory by the Brazilian government in 1992. The protection of the land was followed by important health and educational programs and the creation of different Yanomami associations. Despite this progress, the activism depicted in the exhibition is not relegated to the past. The invasion of their territory by illegal gold miners continues, threatening both the Amazonian rainforest and Yanomami society.
Since the 2000s, a new generation of Yanomami artists have begun producing and showcasing their work outside of the territory, establishing a new perspective that is now incorporated into the exhibition. This multilayered story also includes the contributions of several other individuals and organizations, including Hutukara Associação Yanomami, Instituto Socioambiental, and anthropologist Bruce Albert (Fondation Cartier’s consultant and co-author of The Falling Sky).