The trajectory of Claudia Andujar (Switzerland, 1931), who fled Nazi persecution during the Second World War, reveals the way in which political conflicts interfere in the lives of different peoples. The artist arrived in Brazil in 1955, the country where she still lives today and where she became naturalized in 1976. Her life is marked by the struggle for the demarcation of Yanomami lands and by a series of photographic essays dedicated to indigenous peoples in Brazil. Claudia Andujar identifies with the vulnerability of the Yanomami people and teaches us that the other is the one who helps us understand who we are.
The series Sonhos Yanomami, from 2002, was created from his collection of images, the overlapping of chromos and negatives made since 1971, the occasion of his first trip to the Catrimani river basin, in Roraima, Yanomami territory approved by the Brazilian government only in 1992. It is a work from the artist’s mature period, which already had great intimacy with the culture of the people who welcomed it.
The images reveal something about the rituals of Yanomami spiritual leaders and the importance of dreams in their cosmology. Shamans, unlike others, travel during dreams in the company of spirits, xapiri, who can bring knowledge, healing and protection to the community. The dream, far from being a banal fact that is forgotten after awakening, is a deep connection with the spirits, who travel beyond the sky, the earth and the underground world, and return with teachings about what they saw.
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The survival of the Yanomami, in addition to being a humanitarian issue, ensures the protection of the forest, environmental sustainability and life on the planet. Shamans, the only ones who can dream further and hear the voices of the forest spirits, prevent the sky from falling, supported by the xapiri, who maintain the balance and order of the universe. The end of the world, the collapse of the sky, will occur when the forest is exterminated and the last shaman dies. Time to reverse the great catastrophe is running out.