The term poder verde, green power, was first applied to cumbia amazónica — the boisterous sexy ironic kick-ass garage-band party music that first developed in the Upper Amazon during the oil boom of the 1960s.
The Lima exhibit has clearly been a success. One newspaper calls it "a world vision defined by sensuality, abundance, and color." Another says, "Opulent naked women populate several of the works of these artists, together with luxuriant fruits and wild animals that appear to enjoy the richness of the land."
These artists are, for the most part, not traditional gallery artists, but rather commercial painters, muralists, folk artists, their paintings inspired by posters, advertisements, magazine illustrations, ayahuasca visions, popular symbolism, figures from Amazonian folklore and mythology. Included as well are indigenous painters — Shipibo Roldán Pinedo and Bora-Huitoto Brus Rubio — "escaping from the anthropological museums," as the catalog puts it, so that their work can be taken seriously as art.
Christian Bendayán, curator of the exhibition, said that jungle culture has always been "lively, garish, colorful, quite different from the rest of Peru, which has even looked upon it as immoral." Surprisingly, the swirling visionary art of Pablo Amaringo appears quite at home in this company. Indeed, the exhibit takes a broad view of the visionary. "Mediated through drunkenness, sexuality, wisdom, psychotropics," says the catalog, "the result is an aesthetic that reclaims our hallucinations, our dreams, our visions."
The catalog concludes, "It is green power, the return to roots, the snake of life that gives us these psychotropical visions, to intoxicate us with their lights and colors. Thus art and life, imagination and reason, dream and reality become one. Now we are able to see again, be again, be born again."
The complete exhibition catalog is here.