press release

Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe


Kunsthalle Lissabon presents Urihi theri, the first solo show in Europe of Yanomami Venezuelan artist, Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe.

Hakihiiwe lives and works in the Yanomami community of Mahekoto-teri, located on the shores of the Orinoco River, in the Venezuelan Amazon.

The exhibition will be open to the public from April 7th to June 5th, 2021. Due to COVID-19 safety measures, there will not be an opening event.

In Yanomami Urihi theri means “the place of the jungle” but, according to a very personal approach of the artist, can rather be understood as “the jungle is a community itself”.

A new series of three large-scale paintings on fabric entitled Urihi will open the show at Kunsthalle Lissabon. Floating in the space, the large horizontal landscapes depict volcanoes, trees and other vegetal elements, and in turn hide and unveil a series of drawings on papers made of natural fibers selected by the artist

Through these delicate lines, Hakihiiwe offers a compendium of the animals, plants and natural features of the High Orinoco, using a reduced palette of colors that resembles the one used by his community to decorate everyday utensils or draw on the body. Most recently, the artist has begun to incorporate vibrant colors in some of his works. Even if Hakihiiwe has used natural dyes on some of his works, due to the complications related to the transport of those dyes from the Amazonas, he now mostly uses acrylic or other industrial inks.

Hakihiiwe’s work is closely related to Urihi (the jungle), where he lives with his community and from where they get their everyday nourishment in a way that allows them to live in harmony with their environment. His practice is focused on the transmission of oral memories, myths, ancestral traditions, and the cosmogony of the Yanomami, preserving them from gradual obsolescence and oblivion.

Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe (Sheroana, Amazonas, 1971) began his career in the early 90s when he learned how to make paper from native fibers such as Shiki or Abaca with Mexican artist Laura Anderson Barbata and founded with her the community project on artisanal paper making ‘Yanomami Owë Mamotima’ in Platanal, Amazonas. The first publication edited by the community, “Shaponno: la casa comunitaria” (Shaponno: the community house), received Venezuela’s 2000 Best Book of the Year award. Hakihiiwe has participated in multiple group shows such as: “A Natural History of Ruins” at Pivô, Sao Paulo in 2021; the 11th Berlin Biennale in 2020; "Garden of Six Seasons" at Para Site & Soho House, Hong Kong in 2020; "Cuando entras y sales", Instituto de Visión, Bogotá in 2020; "Amazonías- Colección Museo de Lima", Centro de Arte Matadero, Madrid in 2019; “Ganar perdiendo” at CentroCentro, Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid in 2019; " Le jour des esprits est notre nuit " at Centre Rhénan d’art contemporain – CRAC, in Alsace, France in 2019; Arco Madrid, Art Fair. Madrid, in 2019; "Conjuro de Ríos", Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá in 2018; "Bienal de Arte de Curitiba", Brasil in 2013; "Bienal Internacional de Artes Indígenas Contemporáneas", Conaculta México DF, in 2012; and "Among Tender Roots", Columbia College Chicago, Center for Books and Paper, USA in 2010. He has shown individually in Caracas in Oficina#1 (2010 and 2013), at the Museo de la Estampa y Diseño Carlos Cruz-Diez (2016), as well as at Abra Gallery (2017). Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe’s work was awarded with the Refresh Irinox Award at Artissima Art Fair, Turin, Italy and the Illy Sustainable Art Award at Arco Madrid Fair in 2019. He was awarded the First Prize at the Bienal Internacional de Artes Indígenas Contemporáneas Conaculta DF, México in 2012.

Kunsthalle Lissabon is kindly supported by República Portuguesa / DGArtes, Coleção Maria e Armando Cabral.