“Brothers” depicts the challenges faced by the indigenous peoples of Venezuela, particularly the Warao.
At the center of the artwork, a woman lovingly holds a Warao child, symbolizing the unity among different cultures and ethnicities in Venezuela and solidarity towards indigenous peoples.
The child’s gaze suggests joy and connection to the land and water, vital elements for the Warao, often referred to as the “People of the Canoes.”
The background portrays the natural environment of the Warao, with the Orinoco Delta on the horizon, conveying both serenity and precariousness as their territory is threatened by invasion and environmental degradation.
Traditionally residing in stilt houses along the Orinoco River, the Warao were forced to move to urban centers due to the invasion of their land by farmers and mining companies in the 1970s.
The Warao face severe survival challenges, including food shortages, lack of services, and diseases such as tuberculosis, measles, and HIV, which disproportionately affect the young.
Infant mortality is high due to dehydration and malnutrition, and many newborns do not reach the age of five.
The economic crisis in Venezuela has further exacerbated their situation, pushing them to seek a better life in Brazil, giving rise to a new, unfamiliar exodus in Europe.
The painting invites us to reflect on the need to preserve and protect the culture and traditions of the Warao and all indigenous peoples of Venezuela, the country’s first citizens often forgotten by the government.
Thanks to Andriuw Flores Rivas for the image that inspired the painting.