The John Dyer Gallery

This film was shot during 9 days in Brazil in 2019 when British artist John Dyer, musician Martha-Lilly Dyer and explorers Robin and Merlin Hanbury-Tenison travelled to live and work with the Yawanawá tribe in the Acre region of Brazil. It is aimed at schools to inspire children around the world to connect to tribal culture and the rainforest and we hope children will create their own paintings based on 'Spirit of the Rainforest' to add to our World Gallery. Find out more at and get involved in this four year arts project which is supported by The Eden Project and The Born Free Foundation. We would like to thank Procreate for making this project possible.

Day 1: The Last Chance to paint team finally arrive in Cruzeiro do Sul after travelling for over 30 hours from the UK. The second largest town in the area Cruzeiro do Sul is surrounded by rainforest and this remote Brazillian town offers the Last Chance to Paint team the opportunity to relax before continuing their journey to the Yawanawá tribe.

Day 2: The team are met at their hotel by Nixiwaka Yawanawá and Alvino, who is a police officer. Alvino and Nixiwaka drive the team for three hours to the small settlement of Sao Vicente where they can then take a canoe upstream along the Rio Gregório to the tribal village of Mutum. Alvino the police officer knows the route well and how to avoid any dangers. The team leave late from Sao Vicente, their canoe suffers a broken propeller and they arrive at the tribal village of Mutum at dusk to discover some interesting spiders!

Day 3: The Last Chance to Paint team explore the tribal village of Mutum whilst they wait for permission to continue their project from the chief of the Yawanawá tribe. They then explore the rainforest with Nixiwaka Yawanawá looking for painting locations. Parts of the rainforest are very sacred and the tribe paint John and Martha-Lilly’s faces with annatto seed red paint to keep them safe and to respect the spirits of the rainforest. Martha-Lilly eats a purple potato and John sniffs a very potent plant to clear his nose!

Day 4: Martha-Lilly and John get ready for their first day of painting in the Amazon rainforest with Nixiwaka Yawanawá and members of the tribe. The shaman blesses her canvas by rubbing it with annatto seeds and washing it in the river. Nixiwaka and John paint spiritual paintings featuring a shamanic pot and Martha-Lilly hears Toucans in the canopy of the rainforest as well as discovering a forest crab the night before! John uses the art app Procreate live in the rainforest to create a new digital painting on iPad mini.

Day 5: John and Martha-Lilly are taken to an area of the Yawanawá’s rainforest that is full of sacred plants and paint next to a river whilst the tribe paint, draw and also fish. The tribe wear their traditional headdresses to show their culture and to honour the rainforest. John and Martha-Lilly answer more of the questions that have been sent in via satellite. John also creates new digital art using Procreate and Martha-Lilly discovers that the global plastic pollution problem has also reached the remote Amazon.

Day 6: Robin and Merlin set up camp in a giant tree house and Robin enthusiastically recounts his morming encounter with birds and monkeys from the rainforest. It is raining for the first time during the expedition so the tree house is used as an art studio for John and the Yawanawá artists to work from. John is feeling unwell and is given coconut water to drink.

Day 7: John and Martha-Lilly go for Readybreak with filtered water for breakfast and tell us about the tribal Uni (ayahuasca) ceremony they attended the previous night. John paints the tribal ceremony in the place it happened the night before and Robin and Merlin discover a decapitated snake!

Day 8: Artist John Dyer has his last painting day in the Amazon rainforest and chooses to paint the Rio Gregório whilst enduring the hot tropical sun and capturing life on the water. Merlin Hanbury-Tenison goes hunting with Nixiwaka Yawanawá and recounts a memorable story of his adventures in the rainforest. John takes a plunge in the river to cool down and shows us hundreds of Amazon butterflies.

Day 9: The final day of Spirit of the Rainforest project from the Amazon Yawanwá tribe and the Last Chance to Paint team visit the school in Mutum village. Martha-Lilly plays flute for the children whilst they paint rainforest pictures using annatto seed paint. This special video contains the ‘Voices from the Amazon Rainforest’ film made following the school visit where the children talk to Martha-Lilly about their paintings and how important the rainforest is to them. The video also contains the world premier of a special piece of flute music performed by Martha-Lilly Dyer that was composed by Jake Thorpe for the project based on the Amazon water spirit Yuxi Yuve.

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The John Dyer Gallery

The John Dyer Gallery Plus

The Art of John Dyer and Joanne Short. British artists working from Cornwall and Monaco.

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