- Location:Campbell Gallery
From time immemorial, native people of the rainforests of South and Central America have regarded everything in their world as sentient beings who share a universe with humans. Contemporary people, as their ancestors did, represent their system of knowledge by the creation of artifacts, through the performance of rituals, and by rhythm, music, and song. While many artifacts continue to be made for daily and ritual purposes, they are accepted as "art" in the outside world and find their way into tourist markets, art galleries, and museums. Some indigenous artists offer insight into the relations among their natural environments, their cosmos, and their myths.
This exhibition draws from creations of three indigenous peoples of the tropical forests of western and eastern South America, including lower Central America. The Waounam of Panama and northwestern Colombia carve small figurines from tagua palm nuts and other figures from rosewood. Their carvings were developed to meet economic demands. Canelos Quichua of Amazonian Ecuador and Shipibo-Conibo of Amazonian Peru produce hand-coiled ceramics rooted in ancient traditions. Women continue to make them for everyday use and festival occasions. Canelos Quichua and Shipibo-Conibo also make ceramics as well as wood carvings for sale to tourists and collectors. Some make these items specifically to educate other people through museum displays.