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Art Residency & Community Art Project
Two cultures brought together in the World’s largest captive Rainforest
In 1989 British Artist John Dyer explored the Amazon as a photographer for Thames TV. At that time an Amazonian Indian, 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.
The Eden Project brought these two creatives together in a unique cultural exchange to create a new exhibition of paintings that inspired a new generation to connect to the Rainforest.
The Spirit of the Rainforest project is organised in association with Survival International. Survival is the the global movement for tribal peoples' rights. It champions tribal peoples around the world, helping them defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures.
Artists in residence
From May 4th to 15th 2015, British Artist John Dyer and Amazonian Indian Artist Nixiwaka Yawanawá painted together in the largest captive rainforest on the planet at the Eden Project to produce a series of new paintings exploring the Spirit of the Rainforest from the Western and Amazonian cultural perspective. View the paintings now
"I went round the exhibition with our Chinese delegation yesterday and they were dumbstruck by the sheer effervescence of the display. Simply marvellous."
Tim Smit Co-Founder of the Eden Project
"Just to say how impressive the display of childrens' art is. Absolutely astonishing, and the best one I have ever seen. Well done to John Dyer."
"Visitors spoke to me with absolute delight about the display in Spice of the pictures submitted by children for the Spirit of the Rainforest project. It has won a great number of admirers."
Phil Lakeland - Narrator Eden Team
"John Dyer's dream prompts a thousand Eden artists."
The West Briton Newspaper
"A wonderful, inspiring and humble evening. Thank you."
Above: John Dyer and Nixiwaka Yawanawá present the project and their work. 5 minute video. Please share.
"The Rainforest is a vital part of our lives and our future. We don't all realise this yet but the tribal people of the Amazon know it. By engaging children with the rainforest through art I hope it will build a lifelong concern and connection to the environment. When I travelled to the Amazon in 1989 as a photographer with Thames TV I was inspired. Inspired by the beauty and inspired to paint. I have painted ever since. When I met Nixiwaka for the first time at The Eden Project he explained his wish is to paint. I am delighted to be part of granting his wish and in the process to hopefully inspire thousands of young minds." John Dyer 2015
International art project and competition for children
We hope that the paintings that John and Nixiwaka produced in Eden's Rainforest Biome will inspire thousands of children around the world to get creative and connect with the rainforest through art. Through art comes understanding. Get your children creating with new eyes and connecting to the Spirit of the Rainforest
Children aged up to and including 16 are invited to take part by submitting their paintings and drawings on the theme of 'Spirit of the Rainforest', ALL of their work will be celebrated and exhibited online. Read More
• Artist Residency at the Eden Project from May 4th to 15th 2015 COMPLETED View the Paintings
• 15th September 2015 - Children's inspiration day at the Eden Project COMPLETED
• October 17th to November 1st 2015 - 300 of the top children's art entries displayed in the Rainforest biome at the Eden Project COMPLETED
• John Dyer and Nixiwaka Yawanawá Exhibition of paintings at the Eden Project from October 18th to January 7th 2016
• Top 24 children's paintings exhibited at Falmouth Art Gallery from Tuesday 17th Nov 2015 – Sat 23rd Jan 2016
"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
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Many tribes live entirely off their forests – hunting, gathering and fishing. They carry incredibly detailed mental maps of the land: its plants, animals and the best hunting places. Their land is vital to their very existence and holds a very deep spiritual significance. The land is being illegally invaded and projects like dams, roads, mining and agriculture are destroying a unique way of life. Indigenous people are all over Brazil are speaking out against these changes and fighting for their right to live on their ancestral lands in peace. Nixiwaka asks us to consider why a way of life that is designed to be entirely in tune with its environment and resources is being destroyed by a way of life that isn’t.
Nixiwaka is from the Yawanawá tribe who live deep in the Amazon. He is working with the charity Survival International travelling around the UK to talk about his life in the Amazon, his people’s traditions and the threats that indigenous peoples are faced with in Brazil.
Robin Hanbury-Tenison OBE
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