KuekaIn 2004, I stayed in the Indigenous community of the Pemón in La Gran Sabana, Venezuela. The cacique, or the head of the community, informed me that the German artist Wolfgang Kraker von Schwarzenfeld stole the holy stone of the Pemón called Kueka while traveling to Venezuela in 1998 for his work, “the Global Stone Project ''. The Kueka as other stolen stones from around the world were displayed in the Berlin Tiergarten where they were vandalized and painted over with graffiti.
Kueka represents the Great Mother to the Pemón people. The theft of the Kueka left the community in a deep grief and ecological disaster. Without the Kueka stone, the rivers dried and altered the environment. This changed the course of the river and the Pemón could no longer fish in certain areas of the river which destroyed the main source of livelihood for the community. This is a part of centuries of colonialist violence faced by the community over generations.
The Kueka was not returned to the Pemon in Venezuela until 2020 after an over two decade fight by the Pemón for reparation and justice.