The Yanomami have always transmitted their knowledge orally, not through writing. Their esthetic perceptions are especially expressed through body-painting, elegant feather ornaments and decoration on handicraft such as baskets and quivers. Drawing and painting - and figurative art in general - is something new to them.
Omam pulls the first woman up from the depths of the lake by "André".
The drawings in the exhibition are made by adult indians who have hardly ever seen paper and pencil before, and who haven't "learned" to draw. They form their motifs in ways that are natural for them, without being influenced by western esthetic ideals or artistic conventions. Several of the drawings are made to explain mythical or other phenomenon for non-indians, such as Carlo Zacquini or Claudia Andujar. Or they simply drew what they wished, because they had access to paper and colored pencils.
"André" drew Omam pulls the first woman up from the depths of the lake in 1979. Omam is the Yanomami's mythical ancestor. The first Yanomami were created through sexual intercourse between Omam and the daughter of the water monster T'per'siki, who ruled over all domesticated plants. Omam has recreated the world to what it is today, and given the Yanomami norms and rules to abide by.
André explained the various parts of the drawing:
- The first woman in the depths of the lake.
- The first woman closer to land.
- Omam on the banks of the lake/the big river.