The ancient art of Venezuelan Indigenous women of the Warao Ethnicity, made with buriti straw, comes to Sao Paulo, Brazil, through the exhibit “Ojidu – The Warao Tree of Life”, showing at the museum A CASA, to open on November 7 and showing until December 20.

Baskets, vases, containers, hats, bags, platemats, trays and other objects of the Warao tradition comprise the exhibit, which fosters the self-sustenance of the ethnicity that has taken refuge in Brazil. The pieces are for sale, and the money raised will be fully reverted to and administered by the artisan women.

Two artisans of the Pintolandia Shelter, located in Boa Vista, Roraima, will be present for a talk, from 3 to 5 p.m., sharing how they learned how to manipulate the buriti fiber from teachings that have been passed since many generations ago.

The art production in these formats had the guidance of the designer Sergio J. Matos. “The project was an initiative of Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF), embraced by the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and integrated into the indigenous refuge fronts of the Acolhida (Welcome) Operation,” says the designer.

The Warao artisans experienced the challenge of making new pieces that are very different from those of their culture, as, for this exhibition, they are products oriented to the high décor market”, he concludes.

The Project began in the Indigenous Shelter of Pintolandia, maintained by the Acolhida Operation – an action of response to the flow of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the North of Brazil, led by the federal government in Roraima, with the support of the United Nations agencies and entities of the civil society.

In the exhibit, it will also be possible to see pieces of traditional artisanship, so that people can learn about the origin of this work.

Come to Visit the Exhibit: Ojidu – The Warao Tree of Life

* Opening: November 7, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m
* Visitation Schedule: from November 8 to 20
* Talk and workshop with the Warao artisans: November 8, from 3 to 5 p.m.
* Address: CASA – Museum of the Brazilian Object – Av. Pedroso de Morais, 1216, Pinheiros District, Sao Paulo, Brazil

PRODUCTION: Museum A Casa of the Brazilian Object, UNHCR, UNFPA, Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF)

Learn more:

About the ACOLHIDA (Welcome) OPERATION) – Created in February 2018 by the Federal Government, the Acolhida Operation has the support of UN agencies (including the UNHCR and UNFPA) and organizations of the civil society (such as the Fraternidade FIHF). The initiative renders operative emergency assistance for the welcoming of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in a situation of greater vulnerability. The response is split into three main axes: border ordering, shelter and interiorization.

About the UNHCR – Created in 1950 by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees protects and helps refugees and stateless populations in the whole world. For its humanitarian work, it has received the Nobel Prize of Peace twice (in 1954 and 1981). The agency currently has almost 12 thousand officers and is present in about 130 countries. In Brazil, the UNHCR acts in cooperation with the National Committee for Refugees (CONARE) and in coordination with the federal, state and city governments, the civil society and the private sector.

About the UNFPA – United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the UN agency that handles populational issues. In the context of humanitarian assistance, the UN Population Fund fosters sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health and reproductive planning, and offering response and prevention of gender-based violence.

About the Fraternidade FIHF – Founded in 1987 and with headquarters in Carmo da Cachoeira, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The Fraternidade FIHF is a global network of a philosophic, cultural, humanitarian, environmental and beneficent nature. Throughout its 32 years of existence, more than 60 thousand volunteers have joined the efforts of Fraternidade FIHF for the dissemination of peace. The entity assembles 22 civil, national and international associations, with connected groups that are active in 18 countries. Among its main activities are humanitarian missions that face critical situations in several regions of the world, already carried out in countries such as Uruguay, Ethiopia, Turkey, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nepal, besides missions in the Brazilian Northeastern region and in Mariana and Brumadinho, after the breaking of tailings dam. The main missions in progress have been taking place in Roraima, Brazil, since 2016, and in Colombia since September 2018, both in support of hundreds of refugees that arrive daily from Venezuela. The missions are carried out by Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Missions (FIHM), a division of FIHF. Independent and neutral, the Fraternidade FIHF works without political or economic bonds, and is non-sectarian, welcoming all creeds, cultures and religions. All activities are funded by donations.