The Arthur M Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University is pleased to present Nicolás Herrera, from Ecuador, as the 2017 International Artist for the Dame Jillian Sackler International Artists Exhibition Program.
The exhibition, Enchanted Nature: Deforestation and the Environment, consists of a set of 12 large paintings and 61 drawings, and will be on display for three months. The drawings and paintings emanate from Herrera’s poetic mind and are inspired by the amazing Amazon forest and the lamentable yet predictable consequences of globalization.
As the standard of living has increased in developing nations, so has the demand for specialty hardwoods for architecture, flooring and furniture. Some of these hardwoods can only be found deep in the Amazon forest. To reach these old virgin trees, a web of illegal roads has been created throughout the Amazon. As the number of roads increase, so does the number of trees being cut down. It is estimated that more than 20% of the trees have been cut in the past four decades, which is more than we lost in the previous 450 years.
Deforestation greatly affects the environment as it depletes the supply of oxygen for the world. It can also cause drought and fires, ruining rivers and communities that depend on the rainforest for daily living. A forest gives birth and protection to thousands of species of animals, birds and insects, and deforestation changes climate and kills the ecosystems that sustain life.
Ecuador, ecologically, is the most diverse country in the world. In the Yasuni forest, a small, 25-hectare plot in the Ecuadorian Amazon region, there are 1,100 species of trees, 600 species of birds and 170 species of animals, more than in all of North America. It is for this reason that an artist from this country was chosen to create works that showcase fauna and flora in a mysterious, mythological, magical, dynamic manner and in full color. This important exhibition will be remembered by those who experienced it as a triumphant representation of our times, our environment, our enchanted nature, infused with love, passion, poetry and magic.
Herrera in his native Ecuador received numerous awards, including the prestigious Luis A Martínez First National Printing Prize, Ambato and First National Printing Prize from Salón Mariano Aguilera, Quito, among others. By selling one painting at a time, he built his own museum in Ibarra to house and exhibit his paintings and sculptures and to exhibit works by other artists. Apart from numerous exhibitions within Ecuador, he has exhibited widely, including in the United States of America, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Israel, Colombia, Panama, Chile, Peru and Mexico.
The Dame Jillian Sackler International Artists Exhibition Program was established to bring talented international artists to the Sackler Museum at Beida. Artwork for this program must have cultural value in order to create an open dialogue between the work and the viewer. The aim of this program is to create cross-cultural understanding by showing in China works by artists from diverse backgrounds. It is our mission to have exhibitions that are informative, exciting, interactive and most of all thoughtful, encouraging peaceful co-existence and long-lasting relationships between peoples.