Contributions by: Grazia Francescato, Juan Bottasso, Goriano Rugi, Mauro Francesco Minervino, Juan Utitiaj Untzui, Noemi Bottasso, Walter Landini, Tamara Landivar, Alessandra Movilia.
The place is Ecuador, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. After a 1500 km journey in the forest I’ve met the Shuar people and I’ve started a collaboration with them. My pictures try to witness their millennial tradition as defenders of the forest. I deliberately chose to work without a set, thus avoiding the limitations necessarily imposed by it. The people involved in the project could therefore feel really involved and free to express themselves in their own space with their own identity.
When I met the Shuar people, I asked them to choose a sacred plant, tree or root from the forest they live in. I examined the matter thoroughly with the Shuar people and the whole clan and we discussed the possibility of taking pictures with a plant in their hands. Plants are a symbol of survival and the relationship between men and plants is the only weapon we have to preserve the world from destruction. The Shuar people, one of the most ancient shamanic cultures on our planet, live in perfect harmony with the natural world. From their point of view, plants are intelligent and sacred. A plant can be a remedy for an illness, a drug, and a poison to kill – it can provide food or raw materials to build houses, boats, tools, clothes, weapons and so on.
The cooperation with the Shuar people meant basically two things to me. I realized how important they are if we consider them as a biological link in the millennial evolution of the forest. Therefore, they are fundamental for the preservation of the forest and their presence is a message to the industrialized world. This message reminds us of an ancient connection sadly fallen into oblivion – the magical, psychological and biological link connecting us to the world of plants, with which we share 26% of our DNA.