Denilson Baniwa is an indigenous artist who was born in the village of Darí, in Rio Negro, Amazonas. The Baniwas live in the tri-border area between Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela and in villages that span the distance from the border to Barcelos, in the state of Amazonas. With a population of approximately 20 thousand people, they are divided into clans and have had contact with non-indigenous peoples since the beginning of the 18th century. Despite the violence of this encounter, the Baniwa managed to preserve their rituals, language and culture.
Although art had been part of his life since he was young, Denilson Baniwa’s experience with contemporary urban art was at school and, subsequently, in Manaus and in Rio de Janeiro. His work includes drawings, performances and urban interventions. His oeuvre seeks points of intersection between indigenous culture and the contemporary art world. Some of the themes he approaches include the relationships between indigenous peoples and technology and the harmful effects of agri-business for native peoples. For Baniwa, the role of the indigenous artist is to fight for the well-being of his people.
Denilson Baniwa has participated in several collective exhibitions in Brazil and abroad, including Heranças de um Brasil profundo (Legacies of a Deep Brazil), Museu Afro Brasil, in São Paulo; VaiVém (To-and-fro), at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in various cities; and Racism and Anti-Racism in Brazil: The Struggle of Indigenous Peoples, Manchester University, in the United States. The artist won the PIPA Online in 2019.