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Shamans by the fire


Works continue on the decoration of our Ayahuasca Museum: an exciting project has begun to create two main sculptures for the composition “Shamans by the Fire”. This art installation is conceived as a photozone. This is a special space under a realistic canopy, where a bonfire burns, on which shamans brew their famous magic potion. Each visitor to the Museum can participate in the process for a while, “entering the composition” and receiving spectacular photos as a keepsake.

Shamans around the campfire

In reality, preparing a drink from the Teacher Plants (Sp. Plantas Maestras) takes more than a day and includes: collecting the leaves of the Chacruna bush (Lat. Psychotria viridis) and pieces of Ayahuasca vine (Lat. Banisteriopsis caapi), crushing the woody parts of the vine, laying the plants in layers in the cauldron, after which water is added and a fire is made. Only experienced shamans (Sp. Maestros), following a special diet, or initated apprentices of shamans can participate in the preparation. In fact, this is a ritual, not only a preparing of a drink.

Shamans engaged in this sacred action must keep the fire going, drive away evil spirits from the fire with the help of sacred shamanic songs (Sp. Ikaros), fumigating the space around with the smoke of mapacho tobacco. Constantly taking samples from the future healing potion, shamans are obliged to feel their own energy of the drink, as well as to share their strength and energy with it.

This magical potion has been used for centuries by local healers (Sp. curanderos) to treat both physical and mental ailments, to communicate with the nature spirits and to discover special abilities in initiated people.

Let’s return to our sculptures… It`s always interesting to observe the birth of artistic images, when forms and details are gradually formed in the hands of the master from various materials, facial expressions and characters of heroes appear. So, we decided to “spy” the process of creating sculptures for our photozones, especially since we have been searching for the authors for a long time and very carefully! 🙂

As a result of our searches, the making of the sculptures was entrusted to the talented master Edilberto Merida, who belongs to the famous Peruvian family of Merida`s artists. Our author was educated as a sculptor. He is a part of the team that in 2004 conceived the project of the wonderful family Inkariy Museum located near the city of Calca in the Sacred Valley, not far from Cusco. It`s dedicated to the main pre-Columbian cultures of Peru. Edilberto is currently in charge of Inkariy Museum management, working with his team.

We have reviewed more than 100 photographs of prominent representatives of Amazonian tribes practicing Ayahuasca ceremonies. As a result we selected as a basis the images of two shamans from the city of Pucallpa of the Yarinacocha District in the Peru`s region Ucayali. All the paraphernalia (outfits, hats, jewelry, tools, etc.) of the future photozone were selected in accordance with the tradition of the Shipibo-Conibo tribes, to which our “prototypes” belong.

To begin with, a spatial model was made and the poses of the sculptures were fixed. After it, living people were selected, similar in their physical characteristics to the heroes of the composition. Then the making casts from the body parts of the selected models followed, which served as the basis for the molds for casting elements of sculptures from a special material.

Today the master has made the following blanks for the shamans` sculptures – see the photo.

There is still a lot of work ahead, but we hope that by the end of July our sculptures will “come to life” and will immediately arrive at their “residence” in the photozone of the Ayahuasca Museum.

All interested visitors will have the possibility to see this and other exhibits of our Ayahuasca Museum in the fall of 2020. Follow our news, but for now, just come to relax in the comfortable ecolodge Cordillera Escalera and enjoy communication with the nature of the Amazonian selva in the adjacent Chacruna Park of Nature and Recreation.