Hipolito Mamani Paintings

In 2023, Dr. John Pierce from Tucson, Arizona placed in our care a series of paintings by Hipolito Mamani, son of a second-order healer (curandero) from Cuzco, Peru.

Mamani said the paintings represented his father’s visions of gods (or perhaps ancestors?) who came along every 100 years. Mamani called the paintings his children. In Andean culture, art is considered a living and relationally interconnected entity.

Various techniques in Mamani’s art connect his work to pre-Columbian Andean styles and to shamanism and shamanic art, replete with multivalent imagery and repeating themes and motifs. Some of the motifs include rainbows and sacred birds, like macaws, hummingbirds and owls, which all act as messengers between the human and spiritual realms. The amaru (mythic anaconda) and felines such as jaguars are also recurring themes in Andean art.

Although Hipolito Mamani is a contemporary artist, he has an obscure online footprint. Undergraduate student, Cassilyn Blair (Class of 2023) researched Mamani and these paintings for a course on Andean Art, Culture and Society. Information for this exhibition draws on Blair’s important research and unique vision as an artist herself.

Based on her research and Mamani’s attention to ritual and mythic significance, in particular references to the rainbow, Blair also surmised that six was an odd number of children. She suspects that there may be a child missing in this series, a seventh child that perhaps ended up elsewhere.