PATRIMONIO | HERITAGE. A series of drawing Interventions on “Llanchama” (Amazonian tree bark) by Peruvian/American artist Renzo Ortega. AAHVS Duke.
January 16 – May 18, 2023. | Opening reception February 17, 6:00 pm. (in conjunction with the NC Conference on Latin American Studies)
Artist talk: Friday, March 31. Noon (light lunch will be served)
John Hope Franklin Center Gallery. 2204 Erwin Road. Durham, NC. 27705
Llanchama (or Yanchama) is a natural textile used by multiple indigenous communities of the Amazon. Because of its origin, it does not need to be waived, it is considered a “Gift” from mother nature, and also a way to teach how to make textiles in situated contexts. It is widely used in the production of material culture. It comes directly from the great sapucaia inner bark (Lecythis Pisonis), that peels naturally due to its rapid growth in the forest. Llanchama is used as material for ritual garments, blankets, diapers (for babies), baskets, sifters, nets, etc.
For example, this Tikuna garment is used for the macaco dance, which is a ritual performed when the chontaduro (pupunha fruit) from the Chonta palm is in full harvest. The fruit is a staple of the Amazonian people. People dance and recite myths, wearing costumes made of llanchama. Men dance in one direction and women in the other; it is a strenuous and exhilarating ritual dance. During the party, the macaco (a monkey) character runs around people, bothering and scaring them. Other rituals such as the Moça Nova (a rite of passage) also used llanchama in the production of the dresses.
The most extensive collection of llanchama art in the United States is located at the University of Illinois, Krannert Art Museum. It was assembled in the 1970s by anthropologist Charles Bolian and comes from the triangle area of Brazil, Perú, and Colombia. The collection of 225 objects, 190 paintings, 25 masks, 5 baskets, and 5 objects was first shown to the public as art in the early 1990s. Other indigenous peoples of the Amazon that also use the bark in their material culture are the Andoque, Borta, Uitoto, Yakuna, and Timukas.
Peruvian American artist Renzo Ortega got the llanchama for this series from a well know Amazonian artist (painter) Brus Rubio Churay (Bora-Uitoto) as a “Gift,” back in 2016. Rubio Churay was in Washington DC as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival where Ortega was his interpreter and liaison. Rubio Churay’s work has gained international recognition for the profound description of tribal life in contemporary times, in both the daily management of the jungle environment and the collective tribal experience that presents itself in the form of dreams, visions, and legends. Having been brought up the traditional way by his Bora/Uitoto family, Rubio’s ancestral knowledge is intimate yet critical. In addition, Rubio has interacted with anthropologists and his paintings often focus on current social and environmental issues. Rubio is a reference because he stands out among the self-taught artists of the Amazon. His peculiar style adapts expressive figuration, subtle form and color, and an elaborate interrelation between the symbolic and compositional elements of painting.
Can we consider this series patrimony? A form of cultural heritage from which to build? This is the question Ortega brings up when reflecting on the material and the representation of these pieces. His work functions as a critical reminder of mestizaje and miscegenation in art and culture, then a better term applied to this approach would be that of regeneration. This is a powerful idea since it alludes to healing and restoration – a return to wholeness after a decline due to fragmentation and unbalances. Regeneration shares a common core with therapy and healing, via art. When you imagine regeneration as a verb, the mental motion picture that plays gives a sense of re-ordering, restructuring, and integrating components into a new cohesion. In this sense, PATRIMONIO is an opportunity for innovation and a welcomed disruption – of the status quo (in art and culture) that has led us woefully, gruesomely far down the road of degradation.
Ortega argues about this series of drawing Interventions on llanchama:
“The Patrimony series responds to the global evil of heritage destruction, the physical destruction of objects from the past, and the conceptual destruction of people's thoughts and cultural contributions in the present. These drawings are an act of shaping and destroying. A sudden change is generated not by the weather or the erosion; humanity is the one who killed history. Beyond the formal elements of drawing, the physical process of these works creates an imprint that resists and adapts to intentional manipulation. With these works, I create resistant traces, physically and thoughtfully, to follow through on the projected path.”
Patrimonio| Heritage is organized in conecction to Art of Peru - Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Renzo Ortega (Lima, Perú 1974)
Lives and Works in Carrboro, North Carolina. Currently Visiting Instructor in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Duke University.
2014 MFA Hunter College CUNY, Painting. New York.
2000/04 Painting, Mix media and Composition, Art Students League of New York.
2000 BFA Escuela Nacional Superior Autónoma de Bellas Artes del Perú, Lima, Perú
2023 Patrimonio | Heritage, John Hope Franklin Center Gallery. Durham, North Carolina.
2021 Art Will Save Us Again, LUMP Gallery. Raleigh, North Carolina.
2020 Amor de Lejos, Espacio Venancio Shinki at Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano. Lima, Perú.
2019 When It’s Time to Leave, Vox Populi Gallery. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
2019 What I Left and What I Brought, Power Plant Gallery at Duke University. Durham, North Carolina.
2018 Más allá de las Estrellas / Beyond The Stars, The ArtsCenter. Carrboro, North Carolina
2018 Selected Paintings, The John & June Allcott Gallery, UNC-Chapel Hill. North Carolina
2017 Two Artists / One Space. Bi-personal exhibition with Antoine Williams. GreenHill Center for NC Art. Greensboro, North Carolina.
2017 Journey to Infinity, Flushing Town Hall, New York
2015 El Mar, el Viaje y Otras Tragedias, Galería Fundación Euroidiomas, Lima-Perú
2013 Pinturas Negras, Terror Gallery, Lima-Perú
2013 Ship me to Mexico, Reverse Art Space, Brooklyn, New York
2009 Almost 10 years of hits, Solo Show AES Gallery. LIC, New York
2006 MASS Production. Repetti Gallery, Long Island City, New York
2003 Paintings-paintings. Local Project, Long Island City, New York
2001 Join Us, Installation Charas Community Center, LES, New York
1997 Con Fe, San Marcos University Gallery, Lima-Perú
1997 Con Fe, Installation, Museo de Arte de Cusco, Perú
1996 Pie de Limon, ICPNA Gallery, Lima-Perú
1995 Yo? Plastico, San Marcos University Gallery, Lima-Perú
Selected Group Exhibitions
2023 Art of Peru, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Durham, North Carolina
2022 Reckoning and Resilence: North Carolina Art Now (opens January 13th, 2022) NASHER Museum of Art at Duke University
2021 Selections from the New Wave Residents. Gavlak Gallery. Palm Beach, Florida.
COSO Contemporary South, VAE, Raleigh, NC
2020 Escapes and Revelations – NC Artist Fellows, SECCA Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. Winston Salem, North Carolina.
2019 Dirty South, The ArtSpace. Raleigh, North Carolina.
2018 Contemporary Art Exhibition, Juan Pardo Heeren Gallery at the Instituto Cultural Peruano
Norteamericano. Lima, Perú.
Two generations-Drawing Exhibition, John Harriman Gallery at the Instituto Cultural
Peruano. Británico, Lima, Perú.
2017 Art on Paper 2017 Biennial, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina. Greensboro, NC
MEZCLA, The Carrack Modern Art. Durham, North Carolina.
2016 We Still Imagine, make and read books, SPACE 776. Brooklyn, NY.
Stamp-Manifest, Gowanus Print Lab. Brooklyn, NY.
En la Cresta de la Ola, Surf Art, Galería delBarrio, Lima-Perú
2015 Who, a look at contemporary portraiture. Leslie Heller Workspace, LES, New York.
New Work New York, Survey of work by NYC MFA recent graduates
Curated by Kat Griefen. Saint Nicks, Brooklyn, New York
Terremoto, Galería delBarrio, Lima-Perú
Shangri-La in L.I.C., Long Island City Arts Festival, The Factory, Queens, New York
Lima Lands of Terror, 17FROST Art Space/Terror Gallery, Brooklyn, New York
2014 Hunter MFA Thesis Exhibition, Hunter College 205 Hudson Gallery, New York
The Basel Break off, Kill Your Idol Art Space, Miami Beach.
If these walls could talk, mural art exhibition, ABC no Rio, Local Project
Art Not Without _____, Amos Eno Gallery, Bushwick, Brooklyn-New York
2013 Save Fail, Bullet Art Space “abc no rio in exile”, LES, New York
Performeando, Grace Performance Space, New York
Sell Out, Performances, No Longer Empty, LIC, New York
2012 Desplazamientos, Galeria Conejo, Santiago, Chile
TONIGHT. (VIE), Lust Gallery, Vienna, Austria
Latin Labor Day Art Fest, White Box Gallery, New York
THE TRIP, Autonomous Art Show, Bushwick Open Studios, New York
2011 ENVIO/SHIPPING, works on paper, Terminal 1 Art Space, Santiago, Chile
Enfrentamientos (video Art Exhibition), Espacio G at Ateliê 397 São Paulo, Brasil.
Surrounded, ONE Art Space, Tribeca, New York
Fashion Is For Ugly People, Illuminated Metropolis Gallery, New York
2010 Alternative Histories, EXIT Art, New York
Autosemblematic, Local Project, LIC, New York
BABEL, Space 37, QMAD, Jackson Heights, New York
33 open Doors, Newark Council On the Arts, New Jersey
The Last Day On Earth, Viiideo Gallery. Brooklyn, New York
2009 Portraits as an intimate connection, Local Project, L.I.C., New York
2008 Latino Art Collectives in a Post Movement Millennium, NYU, New York
The place in place of the place, Spanic Attack Art Collective, South Bronx
2007 S-Files Biennial, El Museo del Barrio, New York
MISC Video & Performance, New York Studio Gallery, New York
2006 Queens International Biennial, Queens Museum of Art, New York
2004 Post Platano, Longwood Art Gallery, Hostos Community College, New York
2000 Expressionism in Perú, Museo de la Casona de San Marcos. Lima-Perú
1999 El Ultimo Lustro, Centro de Artes Visuales de la Municipalidad de Lima. Lima-Perú
1998 Salon Regional, Bienal de Lima, Centro de Artes Visuales de la Municipalidad de Lima. Lima-Perú
Awards and Residencies
2020 New Wave Art Wknd artist-in-residence program, West Palm Beach, Florida.
2019 Visiting Artist Residency, Rubenstein Arts Center at Duke University. North Carolina
2018-19 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award
2018-19 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant. Durham Arts Council.
2018 Orange County Arts Commission, Artist Project Grant
2017 Orange County Arts Commission, Artist Project Grant
2017 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant
2017 SpreadArt Detroit. Artist in residency subsidized in part by the Sustainable Arts Foundation
2016 Cultural Envoy Program, US Department of Cultural Affairs.
2016 New Work Grant, Queens Council on the Arts
2013 Kossak Travel Grant, Hunter College MFA
2017-19 Juror/Guest Curator, of Emerging Curators Open Call Program at Local Project. L.I.C., New York
2016 Juror of the 25th Painting Biennial. Tegucigalpa-Honduras.
2015 Deep Breath, printmaking exhibition, Local Project, L.I.C., New York
2013 The Wall, mural program at Local Project.
The Impossible Project, Art Talks, Reverse Art Space, Brooklyn, New York
2012 The Impossible Project, Art Talks, Reverse Art Space, Brooklyn, New York
2011 InQbate, Sound Art Residency, Queens Museum of Art
2010 Elektra KB / Bang Geul Han, Local Project Gallery, L.I.C., New York
2009 Queens Sky, Queens Art Express, Local Project Gallery, L.I.C., New York
Portraits, Armory Arts Week, Local Project Gallery, L.I.C., New York
2006 Urban Logbooks, Local Project Gallery, L.I.C., New York
2005 Black, Local Project Gallery, Long Island City, New York