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Art - Issue #11

XAPIRI

Joseca is a Yanomami artist who lives in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil, between the states of Amazonas and Roraima. His drawings combine images of shamanic spirits with scenes from daily forest life, showing the importance of trees and their spirits in the life-giving forest ecosystem and the Yanomami belief system.

Untitled.

When I was young, when I first opened my mind, I didn’t know much. But as I grew up, I really saw the beauty of the forest, the trees, the waters, the fruits and animals. I love to see the colourful birds and hear the sounds they make, the freshness of the forest. The big trees, the ones with huge canopies high up in the sky, make me happy. The land where I live, my forest, is beautiful. One of my drawings is of a tree with nests made by a bird called Napore (a crested oropendola), that’s the name in my language. This is a drawing about the land where the spirits we call the xapiri live. They heal us and take away the sickness of people.

There are several birds, colourful birds, whose spirits are responsible for healing us - such as the spirits Araripë (the spirit of the macaw parrot), Mayoripë (the spirit of the toucan), Wereheripë (the spirit of the yellow-naped parrot) and Thomoripë (the spirit of the cotia). These are some of the xapiri, the spirits who live in our land. They live in the mountains and the stones - these are their houses - and they come down through the shaman to heal us and to heal the forest.

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