ETOCHIME: Los Hijos del Bosque
Las Líneas Infinitas del Pueblo Harakbut
@ Convento Santo Domingo - Qorikancha, Cusco, Peru/ 2022
The Earth system has now entered the Anthropocene, a geological age in which plantation monocultures, pollution, and industrial-scale resource extraction are damaging or destroying vital ecological systems on which the planet and its biological diversity depend. Globally dominant modes of human existence are driving us towards ecological collapse. Due to our ethically untenable relationship to nature, the Earth System is in crisis. Moreover, large numbers of people who have done nothing to cause this crisis are most exposed to its consequences. Many come from cultural traditions that enrich and perpetuate healthy biodiversity as the means to ensure mutual flourishing. These Indigenous wisdom traditions are widely recognised for their sustainable world views and sophisticated understanding of our interdependence within the Earth System.
The Amazon is a central focus of the most consequential geopolitical and environmental concerns of our time. It is a vast, rugged, beautifully diverse expanse that is integral to the Earth System’s ecological well-being yet has been continuously invaded by numerous resource exploitation interests severely lacking in sustainable administrative policies. Within this setting the region’s original custodians are under threat despite significant scientific research affirming that Indigenous environmental stewardship perpetuates biodiversity which ensures inter species flourishing. Although this is beneficial to us all, it remains a struggle for Indigenous peoples to uphold their rights, maintain their traditions, and preserve their ancestral knowledge and lands. Today, such traditions are calling out to be seen, understood and honoured.
Etochime is an Indigenous art collective from Madre de Dios in the southern Peruvian Amazon. In their native Harakbut language Etochime means "our roots" and they identify their artistic practice as such: PAINT SO AS NOT TO FORGET. The members range in age from 4 - 44 and are all self taught artists. Paint on canvas is not their traditional art form but they have chosen this medium as a means through which to communicate their urgent messages with the outside world. Their imagery consists of lines and figurative representations of their human and non human surroundings. The lines traditionally are natural plant dyes painted on the body as a symbol of respect to their sacred forest and it is believed that through these lines a spiritual connection to the beings of the jungle is possible. The Anämëi tree is at the heart of their origin story. Just as the tree saved the Harakbut and gave rise to many species of animals and plants, the Harakbut iconographies also originated there. The tree became a symbol of unity, respect and harmony with the forest and other beings of the Harakbut worlds.
Yesica Patiachi is the driving force behind Etochime and was chosen to represent all Indigenous Amazonians to address Pope Francis when he visited Peru in 2018 warning that the Amazon’s indigenous people have never been so threatened in their territories as they are now demanding an end to the relentless exploitation of the region’s timber, gas and gold. The illegal gold mining so prevalent in Madre de Dios has had a tremendously negative impact on the cultural survival and territories of the Harakbut peoples.
Plantas Maestras por Dimas Paredes
@ Plantique - Lima, Peru / 2021
This exhibition of paintings is a collaboration between Plantique and AWA Galeria. As the launch of the Flora & Fauna series, this exhibition entitled Plantas Maestras presents the work of Dimas Paredes. We invite you to admire and receive the blessings of these inspired works.
Born in Ucayali in 1954, Dimas Paredes lives and works in Pucallpa. He is an outstanding disciple of the renowned painter Pablo Amaringo, who founded the Usko Ayar School in 1988, where Dimas entered at the age of 43. The son of Don Laurencio Paredes Rengifo, a renowned master traditional healer, Dimas says that he paints the wisdom that his father passed on to him. A visionary artist who has achieved his own style where nature manifests itself with an imposing beauty full of mystery, he depicts the master plants of the Amazon, such as ayahuasca, tobacco, etc. by placing them in the center of his illustrious forests as protagonists. Here the recognizable beings of the jungle - butterflies, small animals, various birds - share this enchanted landscape with the guardian spirits of the plants and the inhabitants of the mythical Shipibo universe are revealed through visions while ingesting the master plants. With his magical art, Dimas shares his visions revealing the mysteries of an invisible world.