Xapiri, a project of just one year, provides Birmingham – and beyond – with a taste of the Amazon rainforest. Founded by seasoned travellers, Jack Wheeler & Gareth Evans, Xapiri supports Amazonian indigenous culture by unifying ethical art, emotive photography and unbiased news. Their vision is to increase awareness and inspire positive change for the Amazon region and its people.
‘We want to empower the indigenous people and give them added belief to maintain their mythical culture and traditions. We have a lot to learn from them, be it their greed free existence or their knowledge of the forests medicinal powers.’ – Jack
Xapiri host a gallery space in Birmingham where a range of art is displayed and sold, from ceremonial masks to bow and arrows. The Xapiri house is a true experience – a sensual trip through the jungle, through scents and artefacts to paint a picture of the Amazon. The art is the project’s principal tool for spreading the Amazonian message, but Xapiri also works with leading indigenous photographer, Alice Kohler, whose stunning images illustrate both the gallery and Xapiri’s internet presence.
‘The striking photography combined with the beautiful handmade artefacts grab social media attention – with creative marketing, we can be at the forefront of giving Amazonian culture the platform it deserves to be understood.’ – Gareth
The duo wish to to engage Amazonian culture to a wider audience, and give the handmade and unique art a structure for which it can be appreciated, in its first major departure from Latin America. The project is sustainable and this is mirrored in its art, which is always produced naturally by the force of the rainforest. The Xapiri guys are strong believers in the shift from mass ‘plastic’ consumerism to higher quality ethically-sourced goods.
As an unbiased project, Xapiri also shares relevant news from a wide range of sources through their social media platforms, articles, and documentaries, providing an authentic and original glimpse into the region, and a comprehensive understanding of the problems it faces today.
Xapiri have big plans in 2016, and will be back in South America by July. The first project will be preparing the groundwork for the rebirth of a lost ritual which has not been celebrated for over 50 years. In the 1960s, when the missionaries first contacted one particular tribe, the tribe were ordered to stop their beliefs and follow the new Jesuit way seemingly overnight. With the missionaries now gone, the proud culture is returning, but only one elderly chief remembers the specific details of this important ritual. Xapiri will be visiting the tribe to talk with the elders in order to raise money, and give the ritual a chance of returning to the people.
‘The mythical beliefs and cosmology of the Amazonian indigenous people are often intensely complex and can offer sound wisdom and alternative perspectives to our very different western beliefs.’ – Jack
Xapiri will also be developing a fair trade structure whilst engaging with social projects when they revisit the jungle. Before they return to the rainforest, they will be appearing in shops and at markets around London, so keep up to date with their developments at xapiri.com