After 3 months in preparation, on Friday the 31st March we officially opened our doors here in the historic centre of Cusco. For those travelling to Peru in the coming months please do drop by and say ‘Hola’ !
Photo – Door of the Xapiri gallery in Cusco.
Our opening evening coincided with the premiere of the photography exhibition ‘The River is Life’ by Alice Kohler, who travelled from her home in Brazil to join us for the inauguration of our new Amazonian themed gallery. The aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness for the social and environmental consequences caused by the recently finished and 3rd largest hydroelectric dam in the world, Belo Monte, located on the Xingu river in the Brazilian Amazon. The subject of the photos focuses on the Araweté people, a hunter and gatherer tribe of around 500 people who live on the banks of the Ipixuna, a right bank tributary to the Xingu river. For more information please see the article we published with the Guardian newspaper here.
The evening began with the photographer, Alice, talking about her photos and the developments on the Xingu during her visits to the indigenous communities over the past 10 years. After her speech there was an open discussion where many ideas were exchanged by the audience and Alice. Thoughts were raised to the possible solutions for the issues effecting indigenous people and their land, with the common consensus being that indigenous lands must be protected, as a starting point! There are of course many examples of how protecting indigenous land can be done, both positive and negative. Unfortunately, due to the vast areas of these territories, even when land is officially protected by the government it is often extremely difficult to monitor and actively protect.
Shared views here: How to protect Peru’s rainforest? Indigenous land titles, researchers say
Photo – Jack Wheeler from Xapiri and Alice Kohler.
It was a beautiful evening and great to have so many people together in the same room, all concerned for the Amazon region and its people. The thought which was echoed by all in attendance was that the time is now to fight for protection of the land and indigenous rights.. it is paramount for us all.
‘It is time for change. Time for the rainforest to be protected, time for indigenous people to freely continue their way of life, maintain their culture and determine their own future. For the wider world to understand, learn from and give the diverse mix of ethnic groups in Amazonia the respect they deserve.’ – Taken from the reference section on the Xapiri website.
Photo gallery below of the opening event:
It was an inspiring start here in Cusco and a positive continuation of our growing movement. Now we are planning future events; screening documentaries, hosting discussions and other Amazonian themed evenings ! All with an aim to bring more people and ideas together, to strengthen the fight and to create positive change.. together!