An initiative by Impact One
'Winds of Yawanawa' unveiling
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The co-created artwork by the Yawanawá community and Refik Anadol unveiled at Scorpios Mykonos, on 13. July 2023
© Image courtesy of Thomas Zikos represented by Mia Dorier for Scorpios

Winds of Yawanawa was commissioned by Impact One and the collaboration marks the first iteration of the Possible Futures’ programme, in partnership with the Yawanawá communities of Aldeia Sagrada and Nova Esperança. 

Comprising a limited 1,000-piece Genesis NFT collection and a large-scale data sculpture, the exclusive series acts as a form of digital preservation, integrating AI with artistic and cultural heritage. Winds of Yawanawa sits at the axis of machine intelligence and ancient ancestral knowledge, shaped by Yawanawá artworks and rooted in localised indigenous culture. The work brings together contemporary computer aesthetics with patterns, visions, and dreams of the Yawanawá people to co-create a work representing the kinship between land and body, expressed through indigenous wisdom. 

This collaboration showcases the capacity of emergent technologies in supporting environmental guardianship directly. New technologies can also be used for rights management and digital protection, whilst enabling decentralised forms of organisation, economy and governance. Perhaps the most useful application of Web3 within indigenous contexts lies in its capacity to maintain real time data on selected territories, providing an unprecedented level of oversight for the communities that safeguard these regions. 

For Refik Anadol, an early progenitor of NFTs who coined the term “data painting”, the new artwork is also an integral step in the contemporary and ever-shifting evolution of AI:

We as humanity cannot solve the complexity of AI by ourselves, individually. AI is on a high-speed track and fresh thinking is incredibly important in this space. We need collective wisdom; and if you think about collective wisdom, you will need ancestral wisdom. Hearing their voices and how we are evolving and bringing their perspective to the dialogue is the most fundamental part of the project.

- Refik Anadol

The Yawanawá community is represented in this project by chiefs Biraci Nixiwaka Brasil, Putanny Yawanawa and Isku Kua Biraci Brasil Junior, leaders of the villages of Aldeia Sagrada and Nova Esperança. Proceeds of the sales of the artwork go directly to Instituto Nixiwaka, the entity representing the Yawanawá communities, to support long-term initiatives for the protection of the Yawanawá territories and cultural heritage. Among other projects, the proceeds generated will be utilised for building sustainable infrastructure in the Aleida Sagrada village and developing an educational programme for Nova Esperança. 

The Possible Futures programme serves to cultivate meaningful relationships with indigenous communities, developing initiatives across industries to support environmental stewardship, knowledge exchange and indigenous autonomy. The long-term project promotes symbiotic models of living and integrates solution-oriented approaches toward the protection of biodiverse regions and cultural preservation.

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