The City of London’s Barbican Art Gallery is prepped and ready to put on the new exhibition Claudia Andujar: The Yanomami Struggle – dedicated to the work and activism of Brazilian artist Claudia Andujar.
For over five decades starting in the 1970s, she devoted her life to photographing and defending the Yanomami, one of Brazil’s largest indigenous peoples. At a time when their territory is threatened more than ever by illegal gold mining, and as Covid-19 continues to sweep the globe, this major exhibition is especially relevant in the context of the humanitarian and environmental crises exacerbated by the pandemic.
Claudia Andujar: The Yanomami Struggle is curated by Thyago Nogueira, Head of Contemporary Photography at the Instituto Moreira Salles in Brazil. Based on years of research into Andujar’s significant archive, the exhibition explores her extraordinary contribution to the art of photography as well as her major role as a human rights activist defending the Yanomami’s rights.
Over 200 photographs, an audio-visual installation, a film and a series of drawings by the Yanomami are brought together in The Curve, The Pit and the Barbican’s foyers. This will be a massive undertaking. The exhibition will reflect the dual nature of Andujar’s career, committed to both art and activism.
Photographs from her first six years living with the Yanomami, showing how she grappled with the challenges of visually interpreting a complex culture, will be featured alongside the work she produced during her period of activism, as she used photography as a tool for political change.
Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican said: “We are really thrilled to present Claudia Andujar: The Yanomami Struggle at the Barbican this summer. The work of this inspirational artist and activist provides an unparalleled insight into the lives of the Yanomami and shines a light on the violence perpetrated against them through illegal activities, hostile forces and corporate greed. The visceral power of Andujar’s photography has never been more relevant, as the climate emergency and the impact of Covid-19 continues to threaten the Yanomami and the Amazon basin.”
Claudia Andujar said: “I started working with the Yanomami in the 1970s and they quickly became a second family to me. When I saw the threats they were facing, I decided to devote my time to helping them obtain the demarcation of the land they occupied so that it would be officially recognised by Brazilian law. After many years of struggle, we succeeded in our efforts. Sadly, their lands have once again been invaded by gold miners and so I hope that my work will continue to raise awareness of the dangers facing the Yanomami.”