Why in this world where there is so much information, do countries and governments across the world have such divergent views and ignore lessons of the past. In one part of the world, a socialist regime which has nationalised virtually every industry has seen its economy collapse; in another, voters may well vote in a government which has a nationalisation agenda. Are humans in a perpetual circular motion? Two exhibition highlight two different attitudes towards indigenous populations, the one celebrating their history and culture and seeking to enhance their place in the contemporary life of the country, the other drawing attention to potential destruction of the indigenous people, their culture and their natural environment, in the name of economic development.
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, the first First Nations artist to have his own show at Canada House in London, shows how traditional cultures can continue to have their own identity in contemporary art and the 21st century world as the Canadian government seeks to develop a new and positive relationship with its indigenous people in his show ‘You’re Just Mad Because We Got Here First’ curated by Victor Wang. Indeed they almost have a space-age atmosphere. Five minutes walk away, Kim Poor at the Embassy of Brazil in her exhibition curated by Edward Lucie-Smith both celebrates the indigenous people and the natural environment of the Amazon, and laments the planned destruction of the Amazon rainforest and everything within it, which has been home to over 100 native tribes, each represented by an arrow in the centre of the gallery, to create industrial factories, roads and towns in the name of industrial and economic development. Kim uses a unique technique which enables the beauty of the colours, skin, wings, fur and eyes to glow out from her paintings as the souls of the animals, birds and people should be allowed to do in their home environment.
What is the point of economic development that destroys history, culture, traditions and such a huge area of the natural habitat? When it is gone, it will have gone and the soul will have been ripped out of the country. How can we ensure that indigenous populations, their history and culture live side by side with 21st economic development?