Every year, thousands of tourists travel to the Amazon to participate in ayahuasca rituals, which are said to be life-changing spiritual experiences. Ayahuasca is a powerful drug that, when prepared correctly, allegedly has the ability to blast the most skeptical user into a hallucinogenic trance that opens their eyes to the true nature of the universe. However, the popularity of the drug is putting a drain on the Amazon region, especially in Peru, where tourist demand is creating a shortage of ayahuasca’s main ingredient, the Guardian reports.
Tourists bring fat wallets to the area, but they are putting a strain on the supply of caapi vine available to “indigenous healers.”
Every year, tourists bring in over 6 million dollars to the region, but the economic boom has created a crisis among the curanderos who rely on supplies that are becoming increasingly difficult to acquire. The caapi vine, a vital ingredient, can take several years to mature, and growers are currently having trouble meeting local needs. Adding to the demand, exporters are sending Amazonian ayahuasca materials to foreign countries, contributing to the overall depletion in the Amazonian region. The Guardian reports that many shamans have had to seek out alternative ingredients to accommodate the growing demand, but this has contributed to problems in the quality of the ayahuasca tea that tourists consume. Is there a solution to this current crisis? Check out the Guardian‘s piece to see what steps growers and shamans taking.
Indigenous tribes are the most important connection between man and nature. These tribes have lived off the land before modern society and many have never interacted with modern society. Ricardo Stuckert is going through and documenting the indigenous Amazonian tribes in Brazil.
Ricardo Stuckert is photographing indigenous tribespeople in the Brazilian Amazon.
The indigenous community is something sacred that most people agrees should be protected. They are more connected to the land than we are. Their customs and traditions are more ingrained in this world than ours are and it is so important to protect them.
The indigenous community of Brazil has been subjected to horrible attacks and conditions from the Brazilian government.
One of the most widespread attacks against the indigenous Brazilians living in the Amazon has been for the land. President Jair Bolsonaro has tried to take land away from the indigenous communities to allow for logging and mining. A bill he sent to the congress sought to exploit the land for commercial purposes, even legalizing some of the attacks we have seen on indigenous people since President Bolsonaro took power.
Stuckert wants to preserve the indigenous culture and customs through photos.
“I think it is important to disseminate Brazilian culture and show the way that native peoples live today,” Stuckert told DailyMail. “In 1997, I started to photograph the Amazon and had my first contact with the native people of Brazil. Since then, I have tried to show the diversity and plurality of indigenous culture, as well as emphasize the importance of the Indians as guardians of the forest. There are young people who are being born who have never seen or will see an Indian in their lives.”
The photographer believes that using photography is the best way to share culture.
“I think that photography has this power to transpose a culture like this to thousands of people,” Stuckert told DailyMail. “The importance of documentary photojournalism is to undo stigmas and propagate a culture that is being lost. We need to show the importance of indigenous people to the world, for the protection of our forests.”
You can see all of Stuckert’s photos on his Instagram.
Stuckert’s work to documented the indigenous community is giving people an insight into a life many never see. Brazil is home to about 210 million people with around 1 million having indigenous heritage. The diverse indigenous community of Brazil is something important to showcase and that’s what Stuckert is doing.
All too often artists from Latin America – particularly Indigenous artists – are overlooked for their contribution to the world’s art scene. This isn’t just true of today’s artists but also dating back hundreds of years.
White-centric art critics have praised the works of artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, while ignoring the immense contributions that artists on the other side of the Atlantic were making hundreds or even thousands of years earlier.
Now, as a nearly 13,000-year-old rock art collection is discovered by researchers deep in the Colombian Amazon, this long lost history of Indigenous art is finally having its moment in the spotlight.
Researchers discovered one of the world’s largest and oldest collections of ancient rock art.
One of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric rock art has been discovered in the Amazon Rainforest. Researches are hailing it as the “Sistine Chapel of the Ancients,” and it’s guaranteed to bring a new level of attention on both the art and civilization of ancient America.
The rock art paintings, which number in the tens of thousands, are said to have been created up to 12,500 years ago. Perhaps even more staggering, they’re painted on well-worn cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles deep in the Colombian jungle. Experts say that because of the size of the site, it will take generations to study.
Although news of the rock art is just being released to the public, it was actually discovered last year as part of a film by the BBC: Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon.
The site is in the Serranía de la Lindosa where, along with the Chiribiquete national park, other rock art had been found. The documentary’s presenter, Ella Al-Shamahi, an archaeologist and explorer, told the Observer: “The new site is so new, they haven’t even given it a name yet.”
The discovery highlights the lives of some of the very first people who called the Americas home.
The team who made the discovery is a joint British-Colombian group, funded by the European Research Council. Its leader is José Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University in the U.K. and a leading expert on the Amazon and pre-Columbian history.
He said: “When you’re there, your emotions flow … We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them … Every turn you do, it’s a new wall of paintings.”
The team found it hard to keep it a secret given the level of excitement and emotion they felt upon the discovery.
“We started seeing animals that are now extinct. The pictures are so natural and so well made that we have few doubts that you’re looking at a horse, for example. The ice-age horse had a wild, heavy face. It’s so detailed, we can even see the horse hair. It’s fascinating.”
The images include fish, turtles, lizards and birds, as well as people dancing and holding hands, among other scenes. One figure wears a mask resembling a bird with a beak.
It’s estimated that the thousands of pieces of rock art are nearly 13,000 years old.
Although no official carbon dating has been carried out to gauge the age of the art, experts are estimating its age based partly on the depictions of long-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that hasn’t roamed South America for at least 12,000 years. There are also images of the palaeolama, an extinct camelid, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses.
These animals were all seen and painted by some of the very first humans ever to reach the Amazon. Their pictures give a glimpse into a lost, ancient civilization that many of our ancestors call on as part of our history.
The site is deep in rebel-controlled territory so it’s unlikley to become a tourist hotspot anytime soon.
The site of the discovery, the Serranía La Lindosa, sits deep in the rebel-controlled Colombian rainforest. As the documentary notes, Colombia is a land torn apart after 50 years of civil war that raged between FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government, now with an uneasy truce in place.
The territory where the paintings have been discovered was completely off limits until recently and still involves careful negotiation to enter safely.
Al-Shamahi said: “When we entered Farc territory, it was exactly as a few of us have been screaming about for a long time. Exploration is not over. Scientific discovery is not over but the big discoveries now are going to be found in places that are disputed or hostile.”