Sara Flores joins White Cube
White Cube is pleased to announce representation of Sara Flores (b.1950), one of the foremost contemporary artists emerging from the Amazonian basin.
The artist’s first solo exhibition in Europe will open at White Cube Paris on Wednesday 13 December 2023, and will be on view until 13 January 2024. Featuring Flores’s new and recent works, the exhibition is a collaboration with the Shipibo-Conibo Center in New York, a nonprofit organisation that works alongside Indigenous leadership in the Amazon toward Shipibo self-determination and territorial sovereignty in a sustainable future.
Coinciding with the White Cube Paris exhibition, Flores’s works are featured in the group show ‘Vision Chamaniques’, currently on view at Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris.
Born in 1950 in the native community of Tanbo Mayo within the Peruvian Amazon, Flores belongs to the Shipibo-Conibo nation, an Indigenous people who reside along the Ucayali River. Rooted in the traditions of her ancestral heritage and informed by the interconnectivity of the Amazonian ecosystem, Flores’s complex and intricately geometric works express the ancient practice of Kené.
Associated with Shipibo notions of ‘design’, Kené shares etymological links to the verb kéenti, meaning to love or care for – an expression reflective of the depth to which Kené runs through the reciprocal values, lifeways and spiritual ethics of the Shipibo-Conibo. Central to their artistic expression, it was declared part of the National Cultural Heritage of Peru in 2008.
Created with materials sourced from her immediate environment, including trees, botanicals and wild cotton, Flores’s Kené designs inherit both the technical knowledge and philosophical principles passed down matriarchally through generations and are part of a deeply entwined belief system.
Applying prepared natural dyes, her works map neural, psychological, elemental and ecological networks, derived from observations of the native flora, fauna and spiritual world. This spiritual dimension is introduced through shaman-led ayahuasca ceremonies, involving the ingestion of psychoactive plants which serve as the point of contact between the material world and invisible life forces. It is believed that Kené is revealed exclusively to women, who interpret these induced visionary experiences into compositions.
In 1976, Flores co-founded Maroti Shobo, in the native community of Paohyan, marking the establishment of the first women’s co-operative among the Shipibo people. The organisation, still active today, anticipated other co-operative initiatives which are now integral to the Shipibo socioeconomic vision for an Indigenous future. Through a collaboration with the Shipibo Conibo Center, Flores’s work funds environmental activism and Indigenous resistance in the Peruvian Amazon. Continuing tradition, Flores now collaborates with her daughters in a process that allows them to engage in each other’s work.
White Cube represents Sara Flores alongside CLEARING.
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