Interview with Peruvian Amazonian artist Lobsang Meléndez Ahuanari


How are you Lobsang? Where are you from? What are your sources of inspiration?

I was born in a very small village with few inhabitants called Barranca, which is three to four hours from the city of Pucallpa. At five years old my parents decided to leave our village to give us more opportunities in the city of Pucallpa. My childhood was really wonderful with some glorious moments as we were always connected to nature. We used to go fishing with my uncles in a canoe for example. We played a lot and were very happy. In my childhood, I don’t remember having much connection with art, maybe in a certain way but I don’t remember much. Until at the age of twelve in primary education, I met a teacher who later became my godmother and she taught art academically. She had studied at the Pucallpa art school, it was very exciting because she taught us many art styles and about geometric forms. It was an advanced art academic training that started early for me. So we were able to experiment on paper, cardboard, wood, and canvas. Thanks to this teacher who inspired my career as an artist later on in life.

‘Introspección’

When I finished high school, like anyone, I didn’t know what direction to take. My parents wanted me to be an engineer. One day, which was a really wonderful day, a friend suggested to me that maybe I should study art. He had studied art and at this moment I followed my intuition. My first visit to the art school in Pucallpa was a wonderful moment. I met many new people who perhaps entered my life at this time to help me find my true path, they were people who motivated me. This was the beginning and when I started learning art. At first, I was only interested in portraits and then in the eighth cycle I was more curious to acquire knowledge from a theoretical perspective. Although, at this moment I felt perhaps It was more important to learn the practical aspect of painting. It was a time when I was learning more about plant medicine and going to ayahuasca ceremonies. To know more about the spiritual world and nurture this other side of the path I was following. One of the most impressive artists at this time was a magical realist ‘fantasy artist’ Boris Vallejo, his creativity was very impressive and inspired me.

Boris Vallejo

The visionary art scene in Pulcallpa was also a great inspiration. Sharing ideas and experiences with other artists, which has massively influenced the path I’m on now. Pablo Amaringo was also a great influence, so it was natural for me to follow this line of visionary art.

Now my source of inspiration has changed and is not necessarily plant medicine. Focusing more on everyday events, presented on my path. Life in general inspires me, the sunrise, spending time in nature, waking up listening to a plant dancing in the wind, a conversation with a friend, a phrase written by one of the greatest men in human history; Each day for me is a new inspiration, a gift. Every day we are born and at night we experience a small death. So if we look at it from this point of view and analyze each day as a new gift. So, at the end of the week we have had seven new lives and at the end of the year three hundred and sixty-five lives. How can we say, we cannot start over again. This is what makes human existence so wonderful and all these ideas are now part of my inspiration. It inspires me a lot to be human because human nature is so complex in every way; in our behavior, in our ways of perceiving life, our intuitive knowledge. This universe goes beyond our earthly understanding. All sources of inspiration for my art. As I walk with this intention and share my human experience, all its joys, and lessons in my paintings. It’s such a glorious gift to wake up every morning and have something new to share, perhaps something spiritual, or something earthly, all the joys of this world.

What is your relationship or how do you relate to that spiritual world that you speak of or represent in your work?

In a certain way, I believe that all human beings that inhabit this world, are spiritual people. But due to the programs we receive in our childhood, in our education, through our parents, society, religion, the news, and media; All playing a small contribution in blocking our human essence, the truth of what we are. I believe, or I like to believe, that we are a vehicle. This body is a vehicle we occupy for a short time on this earthly world, to experience everything we need to evolve, as human beings. It’s a great experience to be here and there is no need to experiment in the spiritual world from my perception because everything is here.

A fundamental part of our human experience is to realize, why we are here? what is our mission? What are we here to learn? To reach this point of understanding and realize it. There is a very beautiful phrase that says ‘look for god and you will meet oneself, have faith and we will move the world.’

Are your current spiritual beliefs connected with the worldview that you learned during your childhood?

Well, the worldview of my childhood was very special, maybe for some people a little strange. As parents usually tell their children stories, to relax them before falling asleep. From an early age my father told me stories of his experiences of the spiritual world. He was a person full of light. His stories were of the other worlds he experienced in certain spiritual or astral trips – in dreams. As a child, I loved to listen to these stories and I understand now that in a certain way he was preparing me for what I am living now. As I search for the beautiful language of the interior world. Our small village was very unique as we were one big family. Well perhaps in some way all humanity is one single family. We would all gather together as a community to listen to these stories. My father was a very dynamic person, very funny as he still is. This was the most beautiful part of my childhood, when we all gathered together to hear these lessons.

‘Medicine of the heart’

Could you tell us one of these stories from childhood?

Perhaps one of the stories or words that have echoed within me, is the idea that life is very simple and only fear complicates it. When we are perhaps looking for a reason or want to understand everything – from a mental point of view. We will always end up feeling frustrated, twisted in our emotions, in our pain, in our fears. Always suffering when we seek to understand from a mental point of view. But if we understand that at times it is not necessary to understand or know anything. Just to be part of what is. Humanity would perhaps be with a more harmonious vibration. As we would simply enjoy breathing the air, the freshness of flowers – fragrances that fulfill our interior.

‘Spatiotemporal alignment,

We would not have to look for more. When we go in search of a deeper understanding in the spiritual world, we can encounter many things. We can go through many adventures, many falls, many ups and downs, there are sometimes many deceptions and many risks. There is a very interesting phrase that I also heard that said ‘In life, we are always flying and always falling, always flying and always falling’ and when we can recognize this, we can be more conscious. There’s a wonderful teaching that says ‘The sun that is there in your window, the round love that is the orange, the apple that is on the tree, all is anew, so why not us?’ Our mind is what makes our body sick because it is against our spirit. Always the mind yearns for things. While the vibration of the heart just wants to love and share this love, making us more sincere and dynamic.


‘Purificación of the mind’

All these aspects of learning or wanting to know things have perhaps given us a certain more harmonious understanding of life in general. Also, my art in a certain way can be like therapy for me. Painting on certain occasions has brought me to tears, as I was so emotional about where I had arrived. After reaching a certain understanding of life, or a personal understanding. If this moves me, it is inevitable that the other who sees the work can also be moved by it.

‘Communication Ararauna’

There is something natural when an artist has this connection, is flowing in the divine essence and we can understand it by the language that it transmits. A piece of art is like words and transmits the frequency of the artist, such as: Love, hatred, jealousy or envy. It is because perhaps the artist has been able to connect with these emotions. So, my intention is to make art that can be a therapy and for people to enjoy. That is one of the most wonderful things about art and is really satisfying.

‘Reverberation’

What is at the heart of your meticulous visionary paintings, what are you trying to teach us?

Art is like life, the artist never knows at what point he will reach. This is the most beautiful thing about creating a work of art, you never know where it will take you. We only know for certain that there will eventually be an ending and the work is done. This is what I understand about life also, that one does not know how long we will be here. We have all the greatest possibilities to experiment with what we are given and there comes a time when we have to leave this world. What deeply moves me is to transmit love, joy and lessons to humanity in general.

‘Initiation’

What is your opinion on what we are going through with the coronavirus in our quarantine times, with everyone locked up in their homes? What do you see as a solution?

It may sound a little strong but it seems to me that humanity is going through a type of depuration in order for us to have a sensational tomorrow. Many people say that we are in crisis and lots of other unpleasant things. But what we are going through had to happen anyway. I believe that a crisis means change and all change is good, even if it is painful; As the great teachers say. The universe is also in crisis because it is constantly organizing itself every day. So a crisis for me means change. Perhaps before we were always in a hurry and running around, we were forgetting and had lost the essence of who we are. All this change that now exists is to realize the meaning of our existence because we were perhaps committing the worst disaster, so far.

‘Tabaco seed’

I think that maybe later on a better solution would be to live in a community, where we can be supportive of each other because when a community is constituted with a clear vision, no one suffers. We are all united with the same vision and this strengthens us. I believe that this could be one of the fundamental solutions for the world at this present time.

What do you think is lacking in societies in big cities? Do you think the problem is the lack of a connection with nature?

I suppose that we or humanity in general across the world have moved away from good information, as now we are bombarded with a colage of information. With a lot of knowledge, people, myself included, live in the mind and when this happens there is a lot of chaos and disaster happening. Instead of wanting the best for others, we enter the world of competition and when this happens it’s a disaster. As the teacher says, over time this generation will tear down the skies with so much mental energy, which is getting out of control.

‘Emanation of consciousness’

A person who lives more in nature can be more connected and re-enter their essence, but there are some who are not connected. On the other hand, a person who lives in the city can be on a path of a line of truth or be in search of a path, that brings him closer to his essence and can be more connected than someone living in nature. It’s a balance, from this point of analysis. The world is as it is and we cannot change it. If we begin to sow a seed of conscience within each of us, as a personal experience, and we are committed to the growth of that seed, I believe that there may be a more profitable change for each individual. There is a small phrase that says ‘It is enough that we light our own candle, as it is inevitable that others will also light up.’ It’s enough that one finds their own light as others can also enjoy this light, life is like that. So I think that now everyone in the world needs to find the right information to get closer to their essence, that is natural. This would be my concept of life in general.

‘Palo Santo’

Can you tell us about a particular painting that has a special meaning for you? How is your process, inspiration and what are you trying to communicate?

Well, in all my experience as an artist and the colourful path I have lived along the way. There has been two very fundamental paintings. The first one is called ‘Gracias,’ which was painted during the time of the many forest fires in Brazil. This event was so devastating and moved me to create a painting in response. When human beings choose in creating a disaster over our liberation. This painting was in gratitude to all women; To our mother earth who is always providing us with her fruits, feeding us and showing us how to live in a more peaceful way. This reminds me of a phrase that says ‘We always leave a younger uterus, in order to enter an older one.’ Which means that our existence is always one of rising up and rising up, so naturally we can reach the place where we all came from. I felt at this time deep gratitude for my personal essence, for my mother, for the mother of all human beings and for our Mother Earth. Acknowledging what she offers humanity, harmony and offering her love despite all that we have done.

Gracias

The second painting is called ‘Weaving life, with threads of the heart’ this piece was very dynamic because at this moment I wanted to understand why human beings act in a certain way, I wanted to understand why we commit so many incidents in our walk through this world. When I came to have perhaps a higher level of understanding, in a higher frequency. I came to understand that it is not necessary to understand or need to know anything. It came to me this small illumination; It’s not important to know anything when we are just part of who we already are. Which came to me without words, as I only felt the energy and knew I had reached a certain understanding. Maybe it was my intuition which blossomed a greater understanding, an awakening beyond what I had understood before. This piece is very small in A3 format and is acrylic on canvas.

‘Weaving life, with threads of the heart’

Well for me it was one of the greatest achievements so far with my art and I am sharing it with you, these little experiences. The process was very healing and hopefully healing for those who look at the work because that is the intention. To perhaps heal a part of something we have covered, forgotten, and do not want to see; Out of fear that we will suffer the same discomfort over again. But I think it is good to look at ourselves and be able to face our own reality of what we are and perhaps with this value to be able to reach an understanding and perhaps can free ourselves.

Do you think the action of painting is a healing process? Is painting a spiritual process or do you see it more as a narrative process?

Maybe I begin to develop a piece because of all this experience and knowledge I’ve acquired, being able to highlight what I have learned through an image. The artist paints inside their own world and thousands of experiences can happen throughout painting one piece. Maybe someone was kind enough to praise me, or criticizes me, or thinking or assuming things. Remembering a small phrase ‘We are what we are, plus what each one thinks we are’ For my mother I have always been a good son, to my brothers a good brother, to some of my friends I am good, or a best friend, for some I am believed to be arrogant, for another a student, or a teacher, for others an artist. So everyone gives you a definition according to their understanding. So what makes an artist essential, is to express all this with integrity and transparency.

‘Tabaco’

What I try to manifest through my work is what I live day-to-day; Perhaps a personal introspection, perhaps something healing, an intimate language from lessons received. I try to manifest through the work all of this because within the artist’s world it can be very small. Perhaps separated from reality because its always living in the mental part. Maybe tomorrow I would like my spirit to be intwined with the cosmic and try to represent all this beauty that this path shows us. It can be therapy to give to people an image that expresses this understanding, that our life is so wonderful. Every minute is an awakening with more awareness, with more love. For love to vibrate in all our hearts could be my intention, like a therapy transmitted to everyone. My art could change in time and not stick to a single idea. As staying with an idea is like locking yourself in its world. I would like to share lessons I have acquired from many cultures, from what I have read. Cultures such as: Hinduism, Egyptian and influences from China; All which is complimentary to the Peruvian culture.

To represent one single visionary idea that encompasses everything. Maybe it sounds a little egocentric but my intention is very positive. To express everything that perhaps I remembered from my travels or experiences, that can be fruitful for a better understanding of life and to see it from a more enlightened point of view. Art as a consolation for the spirit for the people, is one interpretation of what I have been doing so far.

‘Traveller of time’

What plans do you have for the future? Maybe live in a community? What do you see in the near future for you?

For the moment i free myself from plans as it’s a fundamental part of my life to always live in the present moment, because the past and the future take us away from our reality. A plant begins with a seed, which begins to form roots and from that growing, perhaps the plant begins to start bearing fruits in the future. I’m alone in this present reality for the moment.

Thank you very much ‘Sachaqa Talk’ for this wonderful interview. In one way or another you have created a bridge of collaboration. Which demonstrates what the artist can do from their experience, from their own language and that we all have something to share and teach. Society will be nurtured living in this balance where we all have something to teach and is how society can evolve together.

https://www.lobsangsecretart.com/gallery

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