When I was a student at ‘Bradford College of Art’ at the age of 17. I created a drawing of a vision I had seen of many spirits hiding among the forests of Shipley Glen. My teacher at the time said ‘Trina I think you should go back to the library and read more books.’ I always remember that. Powerful words, blocking my creative path for many years. I created art that I thought the teachers wanted after that, lost my path. Really, I was creating the future in art. My teacher, didn’t realize, I was creating the artwork of the future. Creating art relevant to the books that didn’t even exist, yet!
Matilda is one of many artists visiting Sachaqa with a similar goal to make art connected to spirit, nature and a larger cosmovision. Artists that seek to heal our natural planet, speak out for her.
We are looking back to our indigenous roots, healing with her plants and looking for knowledge outside of books. We are creating artwork to build a better future for ourselves and our planet.
Trina Lerner Brammah
Interview with Mathilda Dujardin –
Please introduce yourself?
My name is Mathilda Dujardin, I am from Belgium. I came to Peru with the intension to travel, paint and learn. I will spend a year in Latin America.
My art education – I studied photography in Spain and went on to study comic illustration at a conceptual art school in Brussels.
You were financially subsidized in Brussels to come to Sachaqa? What were your goals and objectives?
I was answering a call put forward by the Belgian government in the international youth department (BIJ.) The scholarship I received is called ‘Artichoc’ and helps young Belgian artists to make residences, art projects and exhibitions in other countries. My proposal was to learn how to create a mural with natural pigments and to develop my ideas in the studio at Sachaqa.
To continue traveling afterwards for inspiration. I would like to research about art, Pre-Columbian cosmovision and ancestral plant medicines. My goal is to make several murals in different places. Mural-art is really celebrated in South America as is visionary art. The Pre-Columbian cosmovision inspires many contemporary artists here, which I would like to research more.
Why is mural art so important to you?
I wanted to learn to paint big, to have the freedom and space to express my energy. To make art that is not confined in galleries, only for an elite. Art for all to see and waiting for anyone’s opinion.
Tell me about the mural you made here in San Roque De Cumbaza?
The mural is called ‘Who worked, the weaver or the weaving?’ Created with natural pigments collected around the village.
I started by drawing a woman of San Roque origin, weaving a chumbe. The idea was that she was weaving not only a chumbe but the whole jungle … the more the process progressed, the more I realized that it was not she who created the domain but the domain that created her.
Lately I am reflecting on the idea of creating non-anthropocentric stories, stories where the human is not at the center of everything. Supported by a stream of thinkers, philosophers of science and the Pre-Columbian cosmovision. They speak clearly of the natural cataclysms that are effecting our planet, due to our human carelessness. Using the earth as if we had a hold on it, and not as if it were part of us. To have a better relationship with our surroundings, and what inhabits us. We are part of the planet, and we also carry the universe in us. To diminish the speed of its destruction and ours – demands an urgent change of consciousness, a revolution of thought and habits of life.
That’s why I paint a lot of animals, landscapes and plants. Plants are entities that have good relations with each other and many things to teach us if we focus and listen to them.
The iguana, for example, as a totem animal represents the peaceful part of the snake. Enjoying the sun and the simple pleasure of life. The Toe flower in the little tree I painted, has healing virtues. With its soft smell which can take us into deeper dreams. Helping us to find a better understanding of our being. I painted a red river like the vein of our planet.
The animals are of the region, some appeared to me in a dream. At the end it was a fabric of experiences and feelings that led me to refine the knowledge of what was around me. The jungle that surrounds and the jungle from within.
To create this history of the weaving and the weaver with natural pigments, further supported the idea that we are part of an area and that we have to learn to listen and live with it. One gets to observe more the colors that surrounds – green comes from stones found by the river, yellow found on the road towards Lamas, red comes from an Amazon plant called achiote, carbon black from the fire of Sachaqa and white chalk that a neighbor uses to alkaline the soil.
How did you find the pigment experience?
It was a total discovery for me. The colors have a softness and a natural texture that inspired me and I liked them as a result – colors that join the landscape.
I liked to be aware of the whole process, to go look for the colors, to crush the stones, to extract the substance to find the color and to apply it with patience. Layers and layers, so the colors are not so opaque.
What are your inspirations?
Matisse said he wanted to make an art that is like sitting on a good sofa, that I liked. To the image of ‘Luxe, calme et volupté’ he said,
‘I would like to create abundance, calm and joy.’
Gauguin’s colors, the roundness of his brush-stroke and his love of exoticism. Rothko and the mystical vibration of his work and Louise Bourgeois for the cathartic and healing power of her art.
How was your experience at Sachaqa?
It was intense as life, strong, joyful, stirring, healing, colorful, and transforming. Finding new ways to be part of another clan.
What do you like about San Roque De Cumbaza?
Its river, the unstoppable song of the jungle, the deep sigh of the mountains, the dance of rain among the trees and its white light passing between dark green leaves. Sanroquino’s drying their coffee in the sun outside. Mahogany seeds and mature ones that are eaten with gusto. The prudence of the people with foreigners who come from outside, that transforms into intentions and warm family exchanges over time.
What aspirations do you have for the future in your art?
Continue to paint murals and make more collaborations as teamwork is important to me.
Find a way to share what I’m learning about medicinal plants.
Refine the use of natural pigments and be able to play even more with the different shades of colors on different supports other than just a wall.
Three words to define your experience in Sachaqa Centro De Arte?
Jungle – art – spirituality