The Last Hunters - an exhibition from Domenico Pugliese

3.5.2016 |

Domenico Pugliese is to host an exhibition of his series 'The Last Hunters' to help raise awareness of the ever vulnerable Awá tribe and the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest which they inhabit. 

Read the supporting statement by Fiona Watson - campaigns coordinator of Survival International below...

"Without doubt the Awá tribe, who live in the unique ‘pre-Amazon’ rainforests of Maranhão in Brazil, are fighting for their very survival against the invasion of their lands by colonists and loggers who are rapidly depleting the natural resources on which this nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe totally depends for its food and livelihood.

Survival International has campaigned for the Awá’s rights to their land for three decades. This culminated in the recognition of their land rights. However,  despite this significant achievement, pressures on Awá land and its natural resources are mounting.

With the increasing invasion of their land come diseases, to which the Awá have little or no immunity, and violence - cattle ranchers routinely employ armed guards to literally clear the land of Indians in order to occupy it. Approximately 60-100 Awá are uncontacted and are now at the mercy of loggers who are pushing deeper into the forest.

It is impossible to say how many Awá have been killed during the last half century as their and other indigenous peoples’ lands have been opened up by outsiders to exploit the region which has seen the implementation of huge industrial development and infrastructure projects, and the building of roads, railways, mines and hydro-electric dams. Much of the funding for this development has come from international institutions such as the World Bank and the European Union.

If this tiny, vulnerable tribe is to have a future, it is crucial that the Brazilian authorities protect the forests - much of Maranhão state has been deforested and it is only the indigenous territories and a few protected areas where continuous forest cover remains. Survival International and many NGOs and experts in Brazil are increasingly concerned about the Awá’s plight. They are one of only two nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes left in Brazil today and due to the fact they were only first contacted in the 1970s are extremely vulnerable to disease and violence at the hands of land grabbers, ranchers and loggers.

In my capacity as a researcher and campaigner at Survival I have worked with the Awá for 19 years and can testify to their critical situation. I believe that the initiative by Domencio Pugliese to document the Awá’s current situation, as well as some of their unique culture and environmental knowledge, is very important and could make a real and vital contribution to their future, one which we hope will be lived without the constant fear of losing their land, their loved ones and their unique way of life.

Survival hopes to use Domenico’s images in our advocacy and educational work as well as to highlight their plight on our website and in the media which are very important in our work. Images can make immensely powerful statements and also provide invaluable testimony, and will therefore be extremely useful for the campaign for the Awá people."

Well done to Domenico for helping to raise awareness on what is such an important cause.

See images from the series over in his gallery here. But make sure to go see the prints up close whilst the exhibition is running at the Brazilian Embassy between 20th May - 14th June.

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