Photography: Tui Anandi (Xapiri Ground)

The Matsés live in the Javari valley on the Peruvian/Brazilian frontier. The Matsés have an approximate population of 2200 people on the Peruvian side, covering over 1 million hectares. Across the river into Brazil they number a further 1300. In Brazil, they are often called the Mayoruna, all of whom speak the Matsés language- a part of the Pano linguistic family.

The Matsés protect and safeguard through their traditional territory a vast expanse of rainforest, as well as shield some of the last remaining uncontacted tribes in the world from unwanted outside encroachment that will bring devastation and disease.

The Matsés made peaceful and permanent contact with the outside world in 1969. This contact occurred after years of intermittent hostility. They were notoriously portrayed as fierce warriors that raided nearby indigenous and non-indigenous villages with motives of capturing women to take as wives.

The Matsés inhabit the very heart of the Amazon Rainforest, an area of staggering natural beauty and almost inconceivable biodiversity, but a land deeply troubled and beset with threats from logging and multinational petroleum companies. It is one of the last frontiers.


We have been developing sustainable fair-trade with the Matsés since 2016. All of our projects with the Matsés are directly coordinated with the Matsés leadership, and with the help and facilitation from Acaté Amazon Conservation. Acaté is an on-the-ground conservation organization founded in 2012 that works directly through projects developed and led by the Matsés to help maintain their self-sufficiency and cultural survival as they adapt to the outside world. For the projects, all of the Matsés are paid in advance at a fair price determined by and agreed upon by the communities and leaders. Acaté offers their expertise and advice to help the Matsés facilitate the trade but does not receive any percentage or monetary gain.

We have been on multiple expeditions to the Matsés territory since 2017.  Our mission is to visit and develop relationships with the many Matsés artisans we are working with while also documenting the processes behind the art. The long-term aim of our work is to ensure that the ancestral artistic practices are maintained and transmitted to the younger Matsés generations throughout their territory while introducing sustainable economy.

We have produced 2 debut exhibitions with the Matsés, in 2019 at Qorikancha in Cusco, and in 2022 at the Centro Cultural Inca Garcilaso in Lima.


Art is of central importance in Matsés culture and identity. They have an incredibly fine and detailed artistic process and these items are used in their everyday lives. If this ancestral wisdom continues to thrive, so can the cultural identity of the Matsés.



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