The Huni kuin

The Huni Kuin (known also as the Kaxinawá) are one of the indigenous peoples living in the Amazon rainforest. The people has about 8,000 members spread in village communities in the state of Acre in northwest Brazil. Huni Kuin means ‘true people’.

Starting in the 19th century, contact with the majority population of Brazil and Peru led to the enslavement of the Huni Kuin and to widespread destruction of their culture. Like many other indigenous peoples, the Huni Kuin fight for their land rights and for the preservation of their traditions. Collaboration with Ernesto Neto is one way for them to make their voice heard.

Connectedness with the natural environment and a vital force drawn from unity with other living things are at the very core of Huni Kuin culture. Shamans (pajé) are able to communicate with natural phenomena, animals and plants by changing shape.

Ernesto Neto has in recent years studied the life of the Huni Kuin in depth and has attained the trust of the community. He makes Huni Kuin culture known through his art.