The Shipibo Conibo Center is an art project in the form of a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit cultural organization whose headquarters are based in a townhouse within the Hamilton Heights Historical District in Manhattan.
Driven by experimental practice and poetic intent, the organization is set up to promote and perpetuate the creative life-ways and knowledge of the Shipibo Conibo people of the Peruvian Amazon, including in their relation with other Indigenous populations, through the contemporary setting of global art and knowledge production in such a way that it would benefit its practitioners.
The Center works to facilitate collaborations between Shipibo Conibo exponents and cultural institutions in order to maintain the contemporary relevance and evolution of Indigenous wisdom rather than relegating it to a lost and collectible past.
With a focus on Indigenous Territorial Sovereignty as well as Visual Arts, Music and Ethnobotanical Research, which in the Shipibo Conibo lifeway are inseparable realms, the organization’s mission is motivated by the conviction that Indigenous identity does not belong to a romanticized ancient age, but can be renewed towards a technologically-anchored but sustainable future, as a celebration of its practitioners’ right to exist in the world of tomorrow.
THE AFTERLIFE OF A FILM:
The Shipibo Conibo Center is constituted in the spirit of artist and filmmaker Leonor Caraballo to continue her work in this field by means of a broad unconventional approach that distinguished her throughout her life, death and artistic practice.
Caraballo’s interest in these subjects started when she was introduced to shamanism and plant medicine travelling the Amazon and up and down the Ucayali River during the making of the feature film Icaros: A Vision.
Having been diagnosed with a terminal disease prior to the shoot, she never backed up from dedicating herself to the project until the very end, animated by a superior degree of urgency: acknowledging the power of plants and the contemporary relevance of Indigenous wisdom is the only way to change the jeopardized future of the Amazon – itself like a dying patient.
Icaros: A Vision premiered in competition at 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and has been going around the festival circuit in the US, Latin America and Europe. Variey defined it “a work of beguiling grace… And never less than transfixing.” The New Yorker film critic Richard Brody included Icaros in his picks for the 5 best-undistributed films of 2016. The film has been indeed picked for theatrical release in May 2017.
Icaros is the seed, the first major project of collaboration with Indigenous artists, which is germinating into the ideas behind the Shipibo Conibo Center.
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