'Winds of Yawanawa' by Refik Anadol and the Yawanawá, an Indigenous people of Brazil, debut in London

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'Winds of Yawanawa' by Refik Anadol and the Yawanawá, an Indigenous people of Brazil, debut in London
Winds of Yawanawa © Photo courtesy of Refik Anadol.

LONDON.- Starting 13 September, Winds of Yawanawa, a large-scale digital work co-created by trailblazing new media artist Refik Anadol and the Yawanawá, an indigenous people of Brazil, premiered at Annabel’s as part of the “Annabel’s For The Amazon” campaign. The artwork was curated and commissioned by Impact One to raise funds to safeguard the Yawanawá’s lands and cultural heritage, and has already generated more than $3,000,000 through the sale of NFTs based on the work, making it one of the highest valued and most successful NFT sales of 2023.

Known for his monumental digital installations created with the assistance of A.I. and generative algorithms, Anadol worked with the Yawanawá to connect their physical culture with virtual data to create the artwork series. Winds of Yawanawa harnesses real-time weather data sourced from the Yawanawá village of Aldeia Sagrada in the Brazilian state of Acre and draws inspiration from the artwork of the young Yawanawá artists Nawashahu and Mukashahu. The environmental weather data, including wind gusts and wind direction and the temperature, determines the movement of the artwork, immersing viewers in a visualisation of the Amazon and creating a mesmerising display of a variety of shapes and colours drawn from Nawashahu’s and Mukashahu’s work, making the series a living and evolving representation of the Yawanawá’s unique identity and the community’s deep-rooted connection to their Amazonian territory.

Among the prominent art collectors who acquired Winds of Yawanawa are Richard and Patricia Caring, Co-Founders of The Caring Family Foundation (TCFF), an organisation that combats deforestation in the Brazilian Amazonian rainforest through partnerships with local communities. With their purchase of Winds of Yawanawa, The Caring Family Foundation is extending its already significant engagement in the state of Acre, Brazil, as the Yawanawa community neighbours other communities supported by the ongoing work of the foundation. Richard and Patricia Caring also serve as Co-Chairs of The Birley Clubs, which includes the member’s club Annabel’s in London, which hosts the annual “Annabel’s for the Amazon.” This event supports awareness and fundraising to benefit local Amazonian communities and reforestation efforts. As part of this year’s campaign, Winds of Yawanawa is set to be displayed at Annabel’s in London’s Mayfair district from 13 September on.

“My wife Patricia and I are deeply engaged in the reforestation of the Brazilian Amazon through the crucial work of The Caring Family Foundation. The Amazon is the heart and lungs of the Earth, and we are proud to set the ambitious goal to plant two million trees by March 2024,” Richard Caring said. “The Yawanawá are stewards and protectors of the land, and we will continue to support their mission to preserve and restore the Amazon.”

On view at Annabel’s will be one of the three Winds of Yawanawa museum-quality Data Sculptures; an eight-minute-long piece that will immerse viewers into a fractalized rendition of Yawanawá cultural and natural heritage. Accompanying the Data Sculptures, the Winds of Yawanawa series also includes a collection of 1,000 unique NFT Data Paintings, derived from the three main Data Sculptures. The NFT Data Paintings were dropped in partnership with Scorpios as the Genesis collection of the newly created Yawanawá & Refik Anadol ledger, minted using a unique smart contract to highlight the collaboration with the community and provide transparent insight into the distribution of the proceeds from the NFT sales.

“I’m deeply honored to have the opportunity to work closely with the Yawanawá to create artworks that are reflective of their rich cultural heritage and practices,” Anadol said. “We tapped into the natural environment to create works that will expose the precious beauty of the Amazon to a wider audience, and hope that they serve as a reminder to safeguard these sacred spaces for future generations.”

"At the peak of the digital age, this work reconnects to our natural heritage, sourcing its form and language from the Amazon rainforest, while raising funds for the Yawanawá and their stewardship of the rainforest, to give back. We are thrilled about Richard and Patricia’s support of ‘Winds of Yawanawa’ and the Possible Futures initiative, furthering the outstanding work The Caring Family Foundation is doing in the Amazon and the Brazilian State of Acre. The display of ‘Winds of Yawanawa’ at Annabel’s very much embodies the level of international engagement and collaboration that is needed for a nature-positive future,” said Impact One CEO Mikolaj Sekutowicz.

Under its initiative Possible Futures, Impact One is partnering with Instituto Nixiwaka, an organisation that represents the Yawanawá communities of Aldeia Sagrada and Nova Esperança in Acre, Brazil, and manages the operations of key development projects. These initiatives support the long-term wellbeing and protection of the Yawanawá people and land and preserve cultural heritage through the construction of nature-positive developments in Yawanawá lands.

“This partnership that we are building with Refik and Impact One is intended to bolster our communities, strengthening our people, our culture and our spirituality, and empowering us to defend and protect our forest,” Yawanawá Chief Nixiwaka said. “It also shows us that we are not alone and that we have allies around the world. This project can serve as a model for collaboration and relationship-building between Indigenous peoples and large companies and influential artists.”

Yawanawá Chief Isku Kua added: “It's through accessing new forms of knowledge that allows us to continue to live in the way that we always have. It brings us the freedom to continue living, to continue teaching our children to speak our language and live taking care of our forests, making schools for the children, making wells with clean water so they are not contaminated, making our agroforestry projects: our food forests, so that we can continue to feed the planet. [It] means, our freedom.”

Impact One is an impact investment initiative dedicated to restoring a balance between nature and urban life. To create nature-positive economies, Impact One is establishing a new asset class of infrastructure that places interconnected human and environmental wellbeing at its core, under the aegis of Wellbeing Infrastructure. Through evidence-based research and full life-cycle impact assessments, Impact One introduces scalable solutions for developing social and economic models that reintegrate nature into cities and creates visible and measurable positive impact on environmental and societal health. Impact One launched the Possible Futures programme, which looks into concepts to redesign the anthropogenic impact on ecosystems through existing evidence-based and scalable solutions. Through its affiliate Ikona Collection, Impact One works with cultural creators to facilitate programmes and initiatives that bridge the gap between art, culture and society and reconnect people with a greater sense of wellbeing. Impact One was co-initiated by the wellbeing leader Therme Group.

Therme Group is a leading global wellbeing provider designing, constructing and operating the world’s largest wellbeing facilities. Its contemporary urban development proposition incorporates environmental concepts to re-integrate nature into everyday life. Therme Group’s facilities combine its innovative sustainable technologies with human-oriented design. Drawing upon the tradition of ancient thermal baths, which were designed to be healing, social and egalitarian settings, Therme Group builds environments that nurture the mind and body for visitors of all ages and demographics, creating healthy and resilient communities. Therme Art is the cultural incubator of Therme Group, responsible for outreach to creative communities, and curating innovative forums that bridge culture, science and society. In this capacity, Therme Art is proud to be a leading investor in the experiential art platform Superblue.

Possible Futures is an array of initiatives, dedicated to cultivating nature-positive and symbiotic modes of living globally to ensure a long-term future of life on the planet. The programme offers holistic and regenerative perspectives, reshaping how we inhabit and interact with the natural environment to co- develop a shared perspective on true value impact. Acknowledging the fact that when applying ‘universal law’, nearly all human enterprise and activities inevitably lead us towards futures that are not possible, Possible Futures redefines the value of Indigenous culture, ecosystems and resources to establish a global network of collaborative efforts that secure a nature-positive outcome for present and future generations.

The Caring Family Foundation was set up in 2019 by Richard and Patricia Caring in response to a desire to feel more connected to the impact and outcome of their philanthropy. They wanted to focus on causes close to their hearts and be hands-on, remaining close to the journeys of the families and communities we work alongside. The Caring Family Foundation’s vision is a world free from hunger, harm and hurt, where women and children can thrive. Its mission is to work towards that world to ensure every child has access to a nutritious meal, every woman is free to make her own choices without violence and rainforest communities can flourish through tree-planting initiatives. The Caring Family Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of women, with children at the heart of all that they do. They work to tackle child poverty, deforestation and domestic abuse, in the UK and Brazil, with the core focus remaining on women and children across these areas. In May 2023, TCFF sponsored three indigenous filmmakers, who curated the ECHOES Indigenous Film Festival, to travel to the UK for the festival hosted by People’s Palace Projects at Queen Mary’s University of London, in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Annabel’s for the Amazon is an annual fundraiser held in September at Annabel’s private members club, in London. The event supports The Caring Family Foundation's reforestation work in Brazil, through tree- planting and community initiatives. Throughout the month, Annabel’s dedicates its entire programme of events, themed to raise awareness, educate on and support the Foundation’s environmental initiative. The appearance of the façade has become a highly anticipated date within London’s social calendar and has been designed to shed light on current issues in the Rainforest through the celebration of art, as well as educating Annabel’s members and passers-by on the importance of Amazon conservation efforts and the effect that its rapid destruction is having on our global ecosystem.

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