A few years ago, blind artist Laura Meddens finished a painting that was, as always, inspired by the vivid visualizations she experiences in her ‘mind’s eye’, felt intuitively from her heart and soul. It was the cathartic expression of moving on from a relationship that inspired the title “Transcendence”.
A friend mentioned it looked like an incredible image of an Amazon tribal chief dressed in a colorful headdress who is covering his left eye because he can’t bear to witness the destruction of the rainforest, yet he has to remain vigilant with his other eye to protect his people, their lands and way of life.
Fast forward to August, 2019 and the news of thousands of fires burning and being set in the Amazon, and then the cowardly ambush and shooting death of a Forest Guardian in Brazil by illegal loggers on November 1st.
Set by farmers, developers, loggers and profiteers, the fires threaten the so-called “the lungs of the world”, and the violence threatens the survival of the indigenous peoples in the countries that share the rainforest.
Laura was then determined to use her painting for a higher purpose and renamed it “Amazon Sorrow” to raise awareness and raise funds for AmazonWatch.org which has been working for years with indigenous communities throughout the rainforest, and through them for APIB, the Portuguese acronym for Brazils’s Indigenous Peoples Articulation.
You can show your support by buying a poster or other commemorative items on this page or through Laura’s website at Pixels.com so that all net profits go through Amazon Watch to the indigenous people of the rainforest. And please share: #IshareAmazonSorrow. Thank you!
In the photo above, Laura presents a copy of the AMAZON SORROW commemorative poster to Sonia Guajajara, the head of the APIB group of indigenous leaders on a very rainy day in Dam Square as their tour of Europe stopped in Amsterdam. It was around this time that Sonia’s cousin and another member of the Guajajara people were ambushed by illegal loggers on an indigenous reservation in Brazil. Paulo Paulino Guajajara was shot in the face and died. Sonia’s cousin survived. She made a formal statement (see video below) later in the day.
Laura expresses her heartfelt sympathy to the Guajajara people, and was honored to meet Sonia and the other indigenous leaders in the delegation. She hopes that her modest efforts to raise awareness and funds through the sale of the poster and other items will help to build support for action to be taken to protect the Amazon rainforest and the people of the indigenous communities in all the countries that share a part of it.
Laura has fond memories of meeting some of them, when she could still see, during trips to Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. She also thanks Sigrid Deters and her team at Greenpeace Netherlands for helping to arrange the presentation; Marcel and Wilma Salome of Re-Art.com for donating the printing of the posters for the occasion; and Egbert Otter for transportation logistics.
THIS IS WHY WE WANT YOU TO SHARE AMAZON SORROW
Honoring Amazon Tribal Chiefs and Leaders
As part of our #IshareAmazonSorrow campaign, we will be paying tribute to the tribal chiefs and leaders in the indigenous communities throughout the Amazon rainforest for their efforts to protect “the lungs of the Earth” and their people’s way of life in the face of endangering enchroachement and development by farmers, loggers and developers.
One of those community leaders is Zezinho Yube Huni Kuin (José de Lima Kaxinawa) from the Huni Kuin people of Acre, Brazil. His biography from HeartAndMindFestival.org (where was a featured speaker Sept.21 in Toronto, Canada) reveals he is as much a cultural ambassador of the indigenous people of the Amazon as a leader working to unite the various tribes to make large changes in the Amazon region.
Zezinho is an international award-winning filmmaker and was Secretary of AMAAIAC (Association Movement of Indigenous Agroforesty Agents of Acre) from 2002 to 2008, and Advisor for Indigenous Affairs with the Government of the State of Acre from 2011 to 2019.
As a result of that position, Zezinho visited nearly all the Huni Kuin communities in Acre, a feat accomplished by few people. He comes from a long lineage of tradition in which the sacred rites of the Huni Kuin people have been handed down from one generation to the next.
We are honored that Zezinho has joined our online #IshareAmazonSorrow campaign by contributing his image for the first posts that will launch the campaign and invite you to download the social media templates further below to contribute your image to stand in solidarity with Zezinho and the people of the Amazon.