Xapiri’s first blog; Amazonian Awareness, Art & Culture

Welcome to the first Xapiri Blog:

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Xapiri, a new year and a new blog.. We would like to wish everyone a 2016 full of love, kindness and respect for our Mother Earth!

‘Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.’

– Chief Seattle.

For those of you who do not know Xapiri, we support Amazonian indigenous culture by unifying ethical art, emotive photography and unbiased news. Our vision is to increase awareness and inspire positive change for the region and its people.

The blog will bring updates on Xapiri’s work, as well as share tribal information, delve deeper into the indigenous art, give reading recommendations and discuss other trending topics. As the blog develops we will ask guest contributors to write about specific themes.

Firstly, lets take an opportunity to take a quick look back at 2015, the first year of the Xapiri project. We have been blown away from the support we have received from all corners of the world and will continue to support indigenous culture from both the U.K and the Amazon in 2016. We have been spreading messages in person all year and highlights include the first Xapiri open evening hosted in our Birmingham based gallery in May, the ALAF (Anglo Latin American Foundation) fair we took part in during October and the recent Brazilarty pop up exhibition in London at Christmas. There is of course no better way to expose the project with personal connections at these events but we also understand the importance of social media to connect with people and give Xapiri a wider platform to inform and share Amazonian culture. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been key to many of the relationships we have made, making new friends with National Geographic, leading anthropologists, indigenous support organisations, activists, journalists and many other people with whom together we can make that difference.

2016 is looking to be even more exciting with many events planned and also a return to to the Amazon where we will develop the project and relationships with the indigenous communities; from social projects to the development of the artisan trade structure. We will keep you updated via the blog with the upcoming plans and developments. Another aspect of the Xapiri blog will be to recommend books on Amazonian culture..

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A reading suggestion:

The Falling Sky – Davi Kopenawa

We wanted to start with this book, as it was the Yanomami indigenous people and words of Davi Kopenawa (Yanomami shaman and leader) which inspired the name ‘Xapiri’. Xapiri is the sacred word the Yanomami people of Brazil & Venezuela use for “spirit”, the shamans contact the Xapiri for guidance and to listen to the ancient wisdom of their ancestors. Davi explores the mystical realms of these spirits in this fantastic book and this excerpt gives an explanation of the Xapiri:

“We Yanomami learn with the great spirits, the xapiri, We learn how to know the xapiri, how to see them and listen to them. Only those who know the xapiri can see them, because the xapiri are very small and bright like lights. There are many, many xapiri – not just a few, but lots, thousands like stars. They are beautiful and decorated with parrot feathers and painted with urucum (red berry paste). Others have earnings and use black dye and they dance very beautifully and sing differently. The whites think that when we indians do shamanism we are singing. But we are not singing, we are accompanying the music and the songs. There are different songs: the songs of the macaw, of the parrot, of the tapir, of the tortoise, of the eagle, of all birds which sing differently. So that’s what the xapiri are like. They are difficult to see. Whoever is a shaman has to accept them, to know them. You have to leave everything: you can’t eat food or drink water, you can’t be near women or the smell of burning, or children playing or making a noise – because the xapiri want to live in silence.
 
They are other people and they live differently. Some live in the sky, some underground, and others live in the mountains which are covered with forests and flowers. Some live in the rivers, in the sea and others in the stars, or in the moon and the sun. Omame (the creator) chose them because they were good for working – not in the garden, but for working with shamanism, for curing people. They are beautiful and difficult to see. The xapiri look after everything. The xapiri are looking after the world. Our shamans know that our planet is changing. We know the health of the Amazon. We know that it is dangerous to abuse nature, and that when you destroy the rainforest, you cut the arteries of the future and the world’s force just ebbs away. The sky is full of smoke because our rainforest is being logged and burnt. The rains come late, the sun behaves in a strange way. The lungs of the sky are polluted. The world is ill. The forest will die if it is destroyed by the whites. Where will we go when we have destroyed our world? When the planet is silent, how will we learn? We have kept the words of our ancestors inside us for a long time, and we continue to pass them to our children. So the words of the spirits will never disappear.
 

And their story has no end.” 

The book illustrates the complex cosmology, mythology and ancient beliefs of the Yanomami people through the words of Davi Kopenawa and conversation with anthropologist, Bruce Albert. The book is split into 3 segments;

1) ‘Becoming Other’ – a relocation of Davi’s childhood and his shamanic calling.
2) ‘Metal Smoke’ – recalling the numerous encounters with white people, often for the first time and in particular the devastating impact of the gold miners arrival in Yanomami territory.

3) ‘The Falling Sky’ – a look at western society through Davi’s own travels and what the destruction of the forest means for us all.

In conclusion, an extremely insightful introduction to Yanomami culture and belief, bringing many questions to the readers mind, both scientifically and mystically, on what impact the destruction of the forest has on the world society as a whole.

We hope you have enjoyed the first blog and look forward to going deeper into more specific topics next time! In the meantime, please keep unto date with indigenous news via our social media platforms:

A hug,

Xapiri

Author: Xapiri

Xapiri supports Amazonian indigenous culture by unifying ethical art, emotive photography and unbiased news. The vision is to increase awareness and inspire positive change.

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