Artist, Indigenous territorial sovereignty activist, and political representative of the Shipibo People of Peru, Celia Vasquez Yui’s practice centres ceramics with zoomorphic features that draw from the Shipibo-Conibo visual tradition. The Council of the Mother Spirits of the Animals is a collaboration with the Shipibo Conibo Center and features sculptures of animal spirits represented as jaguars, snakes, armadillos, and crocodiles, among others. Highlighting the creative and political potential of all living manifestations of the land, they are presented in an amphitheatre and are accompanied by a soundscape available online. The sonic component of the work incorporates a recording of an ayahuasca ceremony for the planet conducted by members of the Shipibo Union of Ancestral Healers (ASOMASHK) as well as sounds from the Peruvian Amazon, fostering a non-verbal communion with nature. Vasquez Yui keeps alive the ancestral custom of mixing pieces of broken ceramics with clay from the riverbanks from where they originated. She also integrates rituals such as fasting, lighting tobacco while firing, and incorporating her granddaughter’s hair into the paint brushes she uses. Through her work, the artist invokes and evokes an understanding of ecology and interspecies healing to confront the spiritual and ecological maladies of the contemporary world.

Works in the exhibition: The Council of the Mother Spirits of the Animals (2020/2023), installation, coil-built pre-fire slip-painted clay, vegetal resins; Asomashk, A Ceremony for the Mother Spirits of the Animals (2021), sound recording, 2'37". Courtesy of the artists and Shipibo Conibo Center, New York

Listen to Asomashk, A Ceremony for the Mother Spirits of the Animals (2021).