After the success of the 2015 Spirit of the Rainforest, a collaborative project between Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, and The Eden Project, plans are underway for Spirit of the Rainforest 2 in 2019. British Artist John Dyer is preparing to travel to the Acre region of the Amazon forest in Brazil to stay with Amazonian Indian Artist, Nixiwaka Yawanawá and the Yawanawá tribe to explore the deep connection between the tribe and the spirits of the rainforest
Painting with the tribal village and the surrounding rainforest as their studio, the artists intend to provide a rich creative learning platform for children. Connecting them, using art and technology, to an experience of tribal life, the rainforest plants and animals that the tribe interacts with, body painting, tribal ceremonies and music.
“We want every child involved to create their own piece of amazing art on the theme of ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ that is inspired by the Amazon paintings of John Dyer and Nixiwaka Yawanawá and the wildlife and culture we introduce them to. They can send high-quality photos of their final paintings, collages or mixed media to us and we will exhibit their art online in our amazing gallery.” – John Dyer
At this moment in time, where there is an urgency to protect the Amazon rainforest more than ever before, tribal culture will be at the heart of the project with Spirit of the Rainforest endeavouring to find out why tribal people are the natural custodians of the rainforest and how rich their culture, knowledge, and connection to the rainforest is.
While Spirit of the Rainforest 2 is in its early planning stages, there are still many ways you can get involved. School groups can pledge their support and individuals can sign up to the mailing list or follow ‘Last Chance to Paint’ on social media to engage with the project.
About John Dyer
John first explored the Amazon in 1989 as a photographer for Thames TV. At that time Nixiwaka, was a small boy living with his tribe the Yawanawá in the Amazon Rainforest. 26 years later John and Nixiwaka met at the Eden Project. John Dyer’s Amazon experience turned him into an artist and painter and John discovered that one of Nixiwaka’s dreams was to paint. John Dyer has been the artist in residence for many leading scientific organisations around the world and now he is inviting children and schools to ‘travel’ with him.
“My experiences of painting around the world have created firm bonds between myself and the environment. More than that, I have seen my own children bonding with nature as they ‘travelled’ with me. They now tread gently on the planet. I want to enable many thousands of children to bond in this way & to create art using paint, drawings, collage or iPads and to proudly exhibit it in our gallery.” – John Dyer
About Nixiwaka Yawanawá
Nixiwaka was born in Kaxinawa, the most sacred part of the Yawanawá lands in the western Brazilian Amazon. There are over 900 Yawanawá, living in 8 tribal villages. The name Yawanawá translates as ‘The People of the Wild Boar’ and the rainforest provides their food, housing, medicine and virtually everything they need. As a child, Nixiwaka learned to speak portuguese and in 2010, he travelled to the UK to learn English so the tribe could represent themselves on a world stage. After 5 years living between London and Brazil he moved back to his tribe and has been living in the Amazon Rainforest full time for the past two years, training as a shaman. He practices his art through body painting using natural plant-based paints that are made from jungle plants and feathers are used to fashion brushes.
“The destruction of our rainforest land is terrible, because the forest is alive. It is our life, and the animals’ life. We don’t separate our existence from it, we are all one body and one being: the plants, water, trees and Yawanawá. When we see harm come to the rainforest, it is as if a part of our own body has been hurt. It feels like an illness that rises up in us and needs to be cured.” – Nixiwaka Yawanawá