A powerful gust from the Amazon rainforest swept through Scorpios Mykonos this summer, with the launch of “Winds of Yawanawá” — a collaborative digital artwork by renowned new media artist Refik Anadol and the Yawanawá community, indigenous to the Brazilian Amazon. On a screen backdropped by the setting sun, onlookers watched as bold, hypnotic colors softly billowed into distinctive patterns, all set to the haunting tones of indigenous Yawanawá songs. The mesmerizing visuals reflect the essence of the Yawanawá’s deep connection with the forest and build on the community’s cultural memory to immerse viewers in the Amazon rainforest — and yet they also contain unseen layers of data. The data sculpture triptych and the collection of 1000 unique, evolving data paintings incorporate the works of young Yawanawá artists while harnessing real-time weather data from the communities of Aldeia Sagrada and Nova Esperançay in the Amazon rainforest.
“Winds of Yawanawá” launched the inaugural edition of Encounters — Scorpios’ new platform for cultural experimentation — in a summer-long celebration of digital art and music titled In Resonance. As the headliner, Refik Anadol’s work needs little introduction. He is an award-winning Turkish-American media artist, director, and pioneer in the aesthetics of machine intelligence, who “paints” with data to create large-scale, immersive digital artworks.
The Yawanawá people are the custodians of thousands of acres of Amazon rainforest — one of the Earth’s most vital ecosystems. Their population numbers just over 1200. Despite continuous challenges from outsiders, the Yawanawá have maintained their traditional way of life, and their culture is deeply connected to the natural world through ancestral wisdom, plant medicine, and environmental stewardship. As a testament to the appeal of “Winds of Yawanawá,” pre-sales of the collection sold out within hours and the project raised $1.5m to support long-term initiatives to protect Yawanawá heritage. The artwork was commissioned by the Impact One for Scorpios, with the organization and Anadol waiving their full share of the revenues.
To launch their co-created artwork, Yawanawá chiefs Nixiwaka and Isku Kua came to Scorpios Mykonos accompanied by family members, along with Anadol and his wife and partner, Efsun Erkilic, for a day of Yawanawá musical performance, prayers, and a panel discussion that featured Anadol, the Yawanawá chiefs, and Scorpios founder Thomas Heyne, among others. Anadol and Chief Nixiwaka Yawanawá took the opportunity to sit down together in Mykonos and discuss their historic collaboration with Scorpios.