Guardians of the Amazon Rainforest, painted by
Mary Luisa Jimenez of Merida, Venezuela, consists of 8 pieces painted in acrylics on canvas. Her background in Afro-Caribbean painting, offers
a very unique depiction of the people of the Amazon Rainforest. In an earthy palate, she captures their expressions of contentment with the natural way of life. Her use of red is inspired by crushed onoto seed which indigenous cultures use to paint their bodies and baskets and symbolic of the expressive power of life.
With dramatic textures, Jimenez gives the viewer the experience of looking at more than what immediately reaches the eye. When you look you can see layers of paint much like the layers of the forest. Their world is one where spirits and matter intermingle. It's a place where they talk to the wind and rocks. It is a world in which everything matters and has a place. Life dwells on all layers in the rainforest from the forest floor to the top of the canopy. Like the jungle itself, her work is built on the many layers of reality. Many of her pieces also reflect the importance of family life and the community. Working together seems to be a running theme, not only with each other but with their environment. For generations, the indigenous cultures of the Amazon have been the guardians of the rainforest. Their lives have been built around not only their own survival but their habitat. Jimenez's work reminds us that humanity, is not here on Earth to just exist, but to, co-exist together... as guardians.