On Cultural Appropriation: Renzo Ortega in conversation with Miguel Rojas-Sotelo
Talk begins in John Hope Franklin Center Gallery (1st floor), lunch served in FC 130.
"Peruvian American artist Renzo Ortega is using as support for his work in this series, Llanchama. 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, arts and crafts, etc.
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.
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."