The Painted Forest: Amazonian cosmovision journeys in San José de Guaviare, Colombia
Rock art offers a glimpse into the earliest artistic expressions of humans around the world. Art gives a voice to people, a voice that can endure over time. Around the world, the genesis of artistic expression is recorded in rock art, providing a gateway to how early humans sought to navigate and understand their place in the world. These images record the voices that shaped and influenced burgeoning cosmologies, social norms and relationships with nature, laying the cultural foundations for generations to come.
In the Colombian Amazonian Department of Guaviare, vibrant paintings cover the walls of rock shelters. The visually stunning painted panels depict human figures in different positions, such as hunting, dancing and celebrating, along with handprint motifs, plants, abstract geometric designs and an impressive diversity of animals, including pictographic motifs of what appear to be the large mammals of the last Ice Age. Archaeological research by the LASTJOURNEY project has confirmed that the first humans arrived in the north-western Amazon almost 13,000 years ago. To the south are the paintings of the ever-enigmatic Serranía del Chiribiquete, which we presume to be of similar age, making it one of the most important geographical areas in the Americas with cave paintings. Therefore, the paintings of La Lindosa, together with Chiribiquete, are some of the earliest artistic and symbolic expressions of the native peoples of the Amazon. They constitute a fundamental testimony to study and understand diverse aspects such as the interaction and management of the jungle, the perception of the natural world, the origin of the indigenous cosmovisions, without forgetting the origin and millenary survival of this cultural manifestation.
This event will bring together national and international experts in archaeology and rock art together with representatives of indigenous peoples and artists, who will share their experiences to understand and analyse from different points of view the meaning and importance of this cultural and anthropological heritage of the Colombian Amazon.
This symposium is organised by the Colombian-European project funded by the European Community’s Scientific Research Council (ERC), LASTJOURNEY, which is made up of the National University of Colombia, the University of Antioquia and the University of Antioquia. It will be held from 29 August to 2 September 2022 at the Secretary of Culture of the city of San Jose de Guaviare. Attendance will be free of charge and will be translated into English, Spanish, Portuguese and Tukano. The symposium will include two days of presentations by academics for the general public, art exhibitions, experimental activities (painting, cooking, among others), two days of visits to the sites of Cerro Azul, Raudal and Nuevo Tolima, and a fifth day, organised by the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH), where a workshop will be held to reflect on the conservation of the paintings, sustainable tourism and the different voices of key actors.
The symposium will include 30 speakers from Colombia (10), United Kingdom (6), Germany (2), Spain (1), Poland (1), South Africa (1), Russia (1), Brazil (3), Argentina (3) and Uruguay (1).
Please see the preliminary programme below: