Art exhibitions unravel the mystery of Peru

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 18, 2019
A painting by the Fifth Element, a Peruvian contemporary art group, is on show at The Other Land, an exhibition held at the Cervantes Institute in Beijing. [Photo by Yang Xiaoyu/]

When mentioning Peru, what comes to mind?

For most people, it would probably be mystical Machu Picchu, adorable alpacas, or the Amazon rainforest.

Although Peru surprisingly boasts the largest population of Chinese descendents in South America, making up 5 percent of its total population, it remains a mysterious land for most Chinese.

Two ongoing exhibitions — When Animals Were Persons and The Other Land — held at the Cervantes Institute in Beijing, are a great chance for viewers to unravel the mystery of the faraway land.

Among the exhibited visual artworks, rendered with surrealism and local myths, are five paintings by Rember Yahuarcani, a visual artist hailing from the Peruvian Amazon, a region that gave birth to various ethnic tribes and nourished their brilliant cultures.

Viewing flashily-attired anthropomorphic animals in Yahuarcani's paintings themed after When Animals were Persons, visitors cannot help but wonder what beautiful myths and spirit could dominate the physical and spiritual universe of the Amazon.

"If I were an animal, how I wish I could look like the fish woman, which is so mesmerizing! I like the wild imagination and romance the painting exudes," a visitor said at the opening of the event Thursday.

"Yahuarcani presents us a concept through his art, which comes from his roots as a native of the Huitoto ethnic group, which lies in the north of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest", said Peruvian ambassador to China Luis Quesada, at the opening of the event on Thursday.

"The indigenous groups inhabiting the Amazon have their own languages and worldviews, different from those of the Andean groups and other regions of South America. In the Peruvian Amazon alone, 45 native languages belonging to 17 linguistic families are spoken," Quesada explained.

The main exhibition space of the cultural center is dedicated to 22 paintings created by the Fifth Element, a five-piece Peruvian contemporary art group.

"They are such a blaze of color!" a visitor surnamed Li commented. "Besides the palette, the way they created these paintings also intrigues me".

What intrigued Li is "exquisite corpse", a drawing technique invented by surrealist artists in the 1920s. It is said that when the artists are working on a piece, they listen to music while taking turns to add to the composition, with each being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed.

Also featuring geometric patterns, strokes of architecture, and wavy lines that suggest movement, the art group's paintings are usually interpreted as representations of the Earth or the entire cosmos. However, many say the places portrayed in the creations are in "The Other Land", as they all derive from the free imagination of the artists.

The exhibitions run through Feb 29, 2020.

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