April 14, 2008 - One Response

Barin Bababo: A meeting of Shipibo painters

Museo de la Nación (Lima, Perú)

December 20 . January 20

Art is either plagiarism or revolution

Paul Gauguin

The Barin Bababo [Descendants of the Sun] Art Workshop was founded in 1999 by Peruvian painters Elmer Inuma Pezo and Filder Agustín Peña, in an improvised studio assembled on the grounds of the Shipibo Conibo village of San Francisco de Yarinacocha in Pucallpa (Ucayali-Peru). All the painters participating in this collective exhibition were born there. Two years after creating the workshop, Elmer and Filder got an invitation to participate in an artistic exchange in Goteborg, Sweden. The motivation and contacts this journey generated allowed them to carry out, in 2005, their first international exhibit at the Universion Museum, also located in Sweden. In 2007, both their works, along with Grover Inuma’s and Loiver Yui’s, became a part of the permanent collection of the International Museum of Naïve Art in Vicq, France. This is the first time members of the workshop carry out an exhibit in Peru.

This exhibition is thus marked by journeys: to Europe, to Lima… but mainly to a parallel universe. Entering the world of the Shipibo painting is like entering a world of dreams, a realm where Nature communicates, through a hermeneutical language, its colours, its beauty, its diversity and its wisdom. The paintings presented today come in harmony with the shamanic icaros [chants] and draw the map we need to contact this parallel universe —it tells us we are here, but we are there as well.

With no technical training whatsoever, almost as an act of pure magic, these artists have learned to give a special perspective to their works. The depth their world needs to be explained is marked step by step, pixel by pixel. At their own way —the naïve way— they communicate the different aspects of the Amazonian mystic, where we are all the same and we are all different at the same time, where everything counts: from the smallest to the largest, from the micro to the macro and vice versa. It is about an aesthetic which arouses a particular sensitivity —not only because of their palettes and their peculiar shapes, but rather due to the amount of time and patience put into the creation of every painting.

The work, as they say, is a “metaphysical prayer” that shows us the Shipibo understanding of the world, not only as tradition but as another possibility.

December 20, 2007

Jorge Luis Baca de las Casas