ICA Miami presents a concise selection of artist and activist Claudia Andujar’s most experimental and expressive photographs from her earliest series of the Yanomami, dating from 1972 to 1976, during which Andujar became fully immersed in their complex culture.
For some fifty years, Claudia Andujar has photographed, worked with, and fought beside the Yanomami people living in the Amazonian rainforest of Northern Brazil. Andujar’s lifelong commitment to advocating for the interests of the Yanomami, whose land is threatened by development and the mining industry, began with a 1971 photo assignment for the Brazilian magazine Realidade. Andujar has continued to visit the community ever since, creating a unique record and a political campaign that helped to designate their homeland as a protected indigenous reserve in 1992. The images see Andujar creating her own documentary style, with a verve and dynamism that stands out in her long career. Seeking to reflect the shamanic culture of the Yanomami, Andujar distorts light or softens colors in her photographs through the use of infrared film, color filters, and the application of petroleum jelly to the camera lens. The resulting images are dramatic views of landscapes and intimate portraits.
Born in 1931 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Andujar lives in São Paulo. Growing up in Romania and Switzerland, she immigrated first to the United States in 1946, then to Brazil in 1955, where she started working as a photojournalist. Andujar’s works are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museu de Arte de São Paulo; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo; and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo. Andujar received a two-year John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1971) and a Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Prize (2000). In 2020 her work was honored in the large-scale survey “The Yanomami Struggle” at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris.