Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe is an indigenous Yanomami artist from Pori Pori, a remote community located in the Alto Orinoco, in the Venezuelan Amazon. Under the guidance of Mexican artist Laura Anderson Barbata, his practice began in the 1990s after learning to make paper using native fibres. This allowed imagery traditionally destined to the body to travel outside the Amazon, as Yanomami people do not normally draw on paper. This is linked to the belief that knowledge belongs to the community and to the territory.
The artist keeps a notebook of sketches until he is able to translate them into different techniques when he spends time in Caracas. Using drawing, painting and screen-printing onto paper and fabric, Hakihiiwe’s work is a very personal interpretation of Yanomami tradition and identity; his drawings and paintings speak to his rites and beliefs, observations of the jungle and concern for the ecosystem. His practice aims to protect the oral memory of his people, their cosmogony and ancestral traditions from Westerners' continued and pervasive attempts to erase indigenous cultures. Together with Laura Anderson Barbata, the two artists founded the Yanomami Owëmamotima community project, a self-sustaining initiative whose first handmade books were written, illustrated and published from a collective community experience.
Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe’s work has been shown extensively in Venezuela and abroad. It was presented at the XII Shanghai Biennale, China (2018), at the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022) and at the central exhibition of the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale (2022).