Photos: People of the Amazon

Cristina Mittermeier travels around the world to document the lives of indigenous cultures, and her exceptional photographs of the Kayapo people in South America will be featured in our upcoming exhibition Spirits and Headhunters: Vanishing Worlds of the Amazon.

The exhibit will include vibrant feather headdresses, full-body costumes, body decorations, furniture and ceramic objects made by people from 8 unique tribes in the Amazon, and Mittermeier’s photographs dramatically illustrate how the people of one of those tribes, the Kayapo, wear and use their featherwork.

Check out the video below to see some of her amazing work, read  her blog for more on her journeys, and see her photos for yourself, along with some truly stunning feather art, when the exhibit opens Oct. 9.

10 thoughts on “Photos: People of the Amazon

  1. I thought the objects in this exhibit are part of the museum’s collection. How come photography is not allowed?

  2. The objects on display in the new Spirits & Headhunters exhibition are part of the Museum’s collection. Most are made of organic materials, which can be damaged by light from camera flashes – which is why we do not allow photography, and the lights in the exhibit are very dim. The feather art in this collection is unique because the feathers are still so vibrant; light exposure can wash out the colors over time.

  3. Thanks for the response. Also, how come special admission must be charged for the exhibit if the objects are part of the museum’s permanent collection?

  4. In addition to the objects that are part of the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition includes a lot of additional material – all of the photographs by Cristina Mittermeier presented at the end of the exhibition – which show how these objects are used in everyday life – and many of the artifacts on display have been added for this exhibition, in order to present a more complete view of these Amazon cultures.

  5. Generally, how old are many of the objects in the exhibit? I assume most aren’t 10 years old, correct?

  6. That figure is accurate – it represents our public exhibition spaces and it includes the IMAX theatre, Burke Baker Planetarium, Cockrell Butterfly Center, our permanent exhibit halls, and several travelling exhibits at the same time. However, we’re working on expanding that space for our visitors – which is why we started the HMNS@100 capital campaign. Funds raised will enable us to create new permanent exhibitions, like a new hall of paleontology, classrooms, temporary exhibition spaces and much more. The new expansion will add 115,000 square feet to our building.

  7. The number just includes our exhibition space and does not include the offices or collections space.

  8. What a great question. The artifacts are indeed older than 10 years, ranging from about 30 years old to 100 years old. While it’s true that almost all of the objects on display in the exhibit are made of organic material, we take every precaution to ensure that the artifacts remain in their current, pristine condition. This is one of the reasons that we don’t allow bright lights to shine on this delicate feather art. In fact, the objects on display in this exhibit are among the very best preserved of their type in existence.

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