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Photographer Claudia Andujar: The Yanomami could disappear

Approximately 27,000 Yanomami live in 360 villages on a 9.6 million hectare (37,000 square miles) reserve in Brazil.

Claudia Andujar is a photographer who lives with the Yanomami and fights for them. More than 50 years have passed since he began photographing the tribe. The Yanomami are people from the Amazon rainforest near Brazil’s border with Venezuela.

An 89-year-old woman uses her archive to increase her visibility, at a time when her survival is threatened again.

Photographer Claudia Andujar and the Yanomami

Andujar said: “The issue of indigenous peoples must be more respected, better known.”This is very important since it is the only way in which the current [Brazilian] government will come to recognize their rights as human beings to occupy their land

After being exhibited in São Paulo, Paris and, currently, Barcelona, a retrospective of her work will arrive at the Barbican Center in London in June. She spent so many years studying about the Yanomami. She thought that it is important to show this way of life now or these people will disappear.

Approximately 27,000 Yanomami live in 360 villages on a 9.6 million hectare (37,000 square miles) reserve in Brazil.

Thyago Nogueira, director of contemporary photography at the Moreira Salles Institute in Brazil, expressed his opinion. He thought that Claudia’s work is so strong that the meaning of the exhibition keeps changing. “It started as a tribute… a desire to connect the younger generation with the political dimension of their work. Now he is reconnecting with current problems, ”added Nogueira.

Alona Pardo, the photography curator at the Barbican Art Gallery, said Andujar is unique. It is because he became a privileged person who lived with the Yamomai for more than five or six decades. “She did it in a very personal way. She started by discovering and learning about the Yanomami and herself as a woman, a Holocaust woman, which is fundamental to her relationship with them, ”Pardo said.

Andujar experimented with techniques such as infrared photography, shaking her camera or covering the lens with grease, giving an almost surreal dimension to her images, including some shamanic rituals. She also captured everyday life, families relaxing together, and children immersed in nature.

The expulsion of Andujar from the Yanomami territory in 1977 by the Brazilian military regime, after she spoke out against the settlers invading indigenous lands, was a turning point and Andujar increasingly used his camera “as a political weapon“. says, Nogueira.

She subjected her aesthetics to a commitment to understand people and defend them. It does not matter if it is through photography or political activity ”. Andujar saved the Yanomami with a vaccination campaign in the 1980s. And now she’s running again to vaccinate people against a new threat.


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