Spirit of the Rainforest Amazon Rainforest

Artist John Dyer and Amazon Indian Nixiwaka Yawanawá spent ten days working together on a new series of paintings in May 2015 in the rainforest biome of the Eden Project.

Nixiwaka had never painted on canvas before but had a good eye and use of line as the tribe regularly uses plant dye for body painting.

John Dyer recognised this strong ability to draw immediately in Nixiwaka and discovered that Nixiwaka’s dream was to paint and to be an artist, it was this that started ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’.

Their work together, and the resulting new genre of art, inspired thousands of people and children from around the world to connect deeply and positively with tribal culture.

Artist John Dyer painting with Amazon Indian Nixiwaka Yawanawá at the Eden Project.

John Dyer & Amazon Indian Nixiwaka Yawanawá

Artist John Dyer painting with Amazon Indian Nixiwaka Yawanawá at the Eden Project.
A major exhibition of the rainforest work was held at the Eden Project.

John Dyer pictured at the 'Spirit of the Rainforest' exhibition at the Eden Project

A major exhibition of the rainforest work was held at the Eden Project.
"The destruction of our rainforest land is terrible, because the forest is alive. It is our life, and the animals’ life. We don’t separate our existence from it, we are all one body and one being: the plants, water, trees and Yawanawá. 

When we see harm come to the rainforest, it is as if a part of our own body has been hurt. It feels like an illness that rises up in us and needs to be cured."

Nixiwaka Yawanawá

Amazon Indian Nixiwaka Yawanwá at work on his painting 'Yuxi Yuve' the Amazon Waterspirit.

“The destruction of our rainforest land is terrible, because the forest is alive. It is our life, and the animals’ life. We don’t separate our existence from it, we are all one body and one being: the plants, water, trees and Yawanawá. When we see harm come to the rainforest, it is as if a part of our own body has been hurt. It feels like an illness that rises up in us and needs to be cured.” Nixiwaka Yawanawá

John Dyer and Nixiwaka Yawanawá's paintings

These paintings from the artists were painted during ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ at the Eden Project. They are the first to ever be seen in this genre of art. When we travel to the Amazon in Brazil a new set of paintings will be made and the culture, traditions, and connections to the rainforest will be explored.

BBC news footage from the 'Spirit of the Rainforest' project at the Eden Project.

As short video from the BBC showing artist John Dyer and Amazon Indian artist Nixiwaka Yawanawá at work in the rainforest biome.

View the exhibition that was held at the Eden Project including some of the Children's art

A short video of the final exhibition for ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ that was held at the Eden Project. 300 pieces of art from children from around the world forme a key part of the exhibition.

View the original 'Spirit of the Rainforest' art project

Over 1000 children, 100 teachers and schools all over the world took part in John Dyer’s first ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ art project. Find out all about that project and see the children’s work. ‘Spirit of the Rainforest II’ promises to make even stronger connections between us and tribal culture.
  • "I went round the exhibition with our Chinese delegation yesterday and they were dumbstruck by the sheer effervescence of the display. Simply marvellous."

    Sir Tim Smit, KBE
    Executive Chairman of Eden Project International and Co-Founder & Executive Vice Chair of Eden Project
'Spirit of the Rainforest' was kindly supported by The Eden Project, Survival International, Falmouth Art Gallery, Kids in Museums, Winsor

Our Supporters and Partners

‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ was kindly supported by The Eden Project, Survival International, Falmouth Art Gallery, Kids in Museums, Winsor & Newton, Jackson’s Art Supplies and Zazzle.co.uk