Collection: From the Ashes

produced by Ray Okudzeto and edited by Pedro Kiua.

 

Exhibition: 11 Dray Walk, The Truman Brewery, London, Wednesday 21st - Sunday 25th February 2024

Private View: Tuesday 20th February 6-9pm

Opening Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 12 - 8pm, Sunday 12 - 4pm

Auction: Christie’s, Post War and Contemporary Day & First Open Sales, London, Saturday 9th March 2024

View Press Release 

The Amazon is burning - the impact of this is felt far away, and incredibly close. In July 2022, Migrate Art founder Simon Butler joined People’s Palace Projects to spend three weeks with the Indigenous Xingu communities who have been deeply affected by deforestation and climate change within their home – the Amazon. 

To bring new, and crucial light to this devastating reality for those afar, Simon collected ashes from the burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest back to London. With it, we collaborated with Jackson's Art Supplies, Unison Colour and Cranfield Colours to manufacture artist’s kits using the ash and charcoal to create paint, ink, pigment and pastels. We have invited a range of contemporary artists including Cornelia Parker, Shezad Dawood, María Berrío and more to create works of art with these materials, with the funds raised from their finished products being donated to the Xingu community as they continue to fight against illegal deforestation, and to assist them in reforesting the Xingu territory. 

The exhibition will take place in February 2024, with the artworks being auctioned by Christie's in March. 

Participating artists: Aislan Pankararu, André Griffo, Andy Goldsworthy, Antonio Tarsis, Alfie Caine, Cornelia Parker, Glenys Johnson, Gokula Stoffel, Harminder Judge, Idris Khan, Indigenous artisans of the Ulupuwene and Topepeweke villages, John Kørner, Julie Curtiss, Kamo Waurá, Loie Hollowell, María Berrío, Mary Mattingly, Michel Mouffe, Nigel Cooke, Piers Secunda, Richard Long, Richard Woods, Robert Longo, Samuel de Saboia, Sarah Ball, Shezad Dawood, Simon Butler, Tal R, Tacita Dean and Tony Bevan.

From the Ashes – the story

Imagine your home, and everything you know slowly but surely burning before your eyes. For many, it’s an unthinkable reality, but for the Amazon’s Xingu communities, it’s not unthinkable – it’s happening as you read this. 

A third of global tropical deforestation occurs in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, and in 2022, this rate broke a new record with more than one million hectares of land being claimed. Add this to the fact that since the time Europeans arrived in Brazil in the sixteenth century, 80% of Indigenous people in the Amazon have died. Those left behind have been forced to leave their territories – their homes – to make way for roads, ranches, mines and reservoirs. Yet it’s these very communities who are doing the most to protect the world’s unique (and crucial) biodiversity. They need our help. 

It was for this reason that Simon travelled to Brazil in 2022 and drove for 5.5 hours through decimated land that was once rainforest to eventually reach the Indigenous Xingu communities. There, he and the communities drew serendipitous parallels in art.

Many members of the Xingu communities were artists, and Simon himself hosted art classes with the children while he was there. While it came as no surprise to him to see art playing such a big role in shaping a community, its potential to connect people from faraway corners of the earth certainly did.

It was here that From the Ashes was born: The Xingu communities, together with the People’s Palace Projects and Migrate Art collaborated in a truly unique exhibit that will see renowned contemporary artists from all around the world create artworks from the ashes of the Amazon Rainforest, and alongside them, Indigenous artists and children from these communities will join them.


How It Works

1. We visited the Xingu community in the Amazon rainforest in July 2022.

2. The community showed us areas of the rainforest that had been burnt down illegally. We collected some of the grey and black ash from the forest floor and shipped it back to London.

3. We created a series of art materials such as paint, pastel, and ink, using the ash to pigment them.

4. These art materials were sent to artists all over the world to create new work with. These new works will be exhibited and sold to raise funds for the Xingu community.

5. Funds raised will provide firefighting equipment to the Xingu villages to allow them to protect the rainforest. Funds will also plant thousands of new trees and support reforestation projects.

 

 

A huge thanks to the following collaborators for their support: