Artist Profiles

Artist:

Ramiro Moreno

Region:

Western Hemisphere

Country:

Colombia

Organization:

Comunidad Central Corocito

Media/General:

Woodwork

Medium of Work:

Machaco carved wooden animals, seats, and canoes

Year(s) Attended:

Santa Fe: 2017, 2019

About:

The group of artisans behind Colombia’s Comunidad Central Corocito collective are focused on producing items traditional to the region’s ancient Sikuani indigenous people, who have inhabited the Eastern Plains of Colombia for untold generations. Traditionally, they lived in semi-sedentary villages, where households were highly mobile and engaged in hunting and gathering activities. Later they settled near rivers, forests, and mountains in high areas in order to avoid flooding and facilitate cultivation and survival.

Given how ancient their culture is, it’s somewhat staggering to see the refined modernity evinced in Sikuani carved statuettes of alligators and turtles, for instance, or the exquisite simplicity of larger, functional items like shallow bowls and low benches. Machaco wood is used for nearly everything the community creates, obtained from lush, sprawling forests in the surrounding wilderness.

This community focuses on wood carving, which, pursuant to tradition, is exclusively done by men. They are responsible for collecting wood, cutting it down to a manageable size, and carving it. On the other hand, women finish the pieces by sanding them and producing natural dyes, which come from burned sections of bark. When viewing the sheer mastery and technical prowess of the Sikuani people, it’s no surprise that for centuries they’ve been renowned as expert canoe-carvers. Although you won’t find any seaworthy vessels on display, you will see both purely decorative art objects and highly functional ones, each and every one crafted by hand and bearing the visual signature of a master carver.