Claudia Andujar and the Yanomami Struggle is the first major international retrospective at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) dedicated to the long collaboration between Brazilian artist and activist Claudia Andujar and the Yanomami people.


Since the 1970s Andujar has accompanied the struggle of this indigenous group against human rights violations and in the defense of their territory. This exhibition also presents a multidimensional perspective of Yanomami society through the art and voices of their people.


The Yanomami are one of the largest indigenous groups in the Amazon, with a population of approximately 54,000 people. One of their main spokespersons is Davi Kopenawa, shaman and leader of their community on the Catrimani River in the northern part of the Brazilian Amazon. In 2013, Kopenawa published with Bruce Albert La chute du ciel: paroles d'un chaman yanomami, a revolutionary account of the origins of the Yanomami people and his interpretation of the destructive behavior of those he calls "commodity people." His knowledge and the struggle of his people are the common thread of this exhibition. In 1971, Andujar first traveled to the Yanomami region of the Catrimani River, an encounter that would become a lifelong commitment to his people.

The first section of this exhibition presents a glimpse of 1970 Yanomami society and its worldview through Andujar's photographic work, Kopenawa's visionary words, and films and drawings created by Yanomami artists. In addition, this first part follows the transformation of Andujar's photographic work, stimulated by her growing friendship and understanding of the Yanomami people. Gradually, the straightforward black-and-white photographs of the early years give way to more interpretive and transcendent images, enriched by the use of infrared film, color filters, and other visual experimentation.


The second part presents a detailed account of the Yanomami conflict and struggle, since the Brazilian military dictatorship launched an advance to colonize the Amazon. Two distinct types of images structure this narrative. On  one hand, a series of photographs depicts the trauma and despair caused by the illness and death of thousands of natives due to the arrival of companies and the massive migration to the region. On the other hand, images used to expedite medical assistance and improve health conditions in the territory are presented. The display of these images continues to be the subject of deep mourning among the Yanomami communities.

This exhibition presents a significant selection of Yanomami art and a contribution to reinforce the struggle for the sovereignty of indigenous peoples. At a time when violence in the Amazon and the global climate crisis continue to dominate the news, this project also aims to show that environmental protection depends on the ongoing struggle for social justice and that art can be a powerful tool to reaffirm the knowledge of indigenous peoples around the world.


Artists: Claudia Andujar, Davi Kopenawa, Aida Harika, Poraco Hɨko, Morzaniel Iramari, Mariana Lacerda, Joseca Mokahesi, Orlando Nakɨ uxima, André Taniki, Edmar Tokorino, Vital Warasi, Ehuana Yaira, Roseane Yariana, Forensic Architecture.