Ana Mendina – Painter of the Amazon
Brazilian born artist Ana Mendina has spent time visiting and living in various parts of the Amazon. During these times she has developed a deep understanding of the region and an affinity with its people. This relationship continues and is a major part of Ana’s personal and artistic life.
She is a Fine Arts graduate, has studied in Australia and at the University of San Jose in Costa Rica. Ana continued her studies in anthropology, art and iconographic research in the Amazon.
At present Mount Maunganui is her home.
Through her art Ana talks about the real dangers facing the indigenous people who live in the Amazon. She also paints about the massive, highly complex jungle environment that is currently being destroyed on a vast scale.
This damage to the ‘lungs of the Earth’ will, if not halted, have a significant impact on all life globally. The Amazon River is also a major focus for Ana and her art.
On August 6, Ana’s work will be displayed in the ‘River Lives: Stories From the World’s Greatest Rivers’ section of the ‘Aqua Exhibition’ now showing at the Auckland Museum.
Ana working on ‘Forest Life Source’.
Ana is inspired by nature and the relationship between man and the natural world. She is closely associated with the Yanomami people who live near the headwaters of the Amazon River whose culture could be threatened by mining and foreign intrusion. The Yanomami are kaitiaki of the forest and are at the forefront of protecting this precious natural resource.
Her work not only explores the physical beauty of Amazonian flora and fauna, but also the mystical realities known to those who have lived there in harmony with nature since earliest human habitation.
Her new works are painted with acrylics on large loose canvases. Her love of primitive art, folk art and enthusiasm for life burst through in these exuberant, colourful paintings. It is this zest for living expressed in paint, and a pent up eagerness to express her thoughts and beliefs on canvas that attracts me to her art.
Ana knows that this love of colour might cause some to think that the work lacks gravitas and this poses an introspective struggle at times as she creates new works of art. Without compromising her natural style Ana has also produced work with a more subdued palate that still expertly captures the soul of the forest and conveys the meanings so dear to her heart.
‘Iconografia de Amazonia’ Acrylic on Canvas. 1500mm X 2000mm 2010.
Many of Ana’s artworks show the iconography of the indigenous peoples, include both the realities of today’s world and the sustaining spiritual world that allows the peoples of the Amazon to be at one with their environment.
Ana’s work is a celebration of the Amazon, the culture and life of its people.
Now that she is in New Zealand the opportunity to delve into Maori art and design is a natural extension to Ana’s lifetime immersion in art.
Pete Morris is an occasional painter and an art lover. He is a freelance writer with a particular interest in promoting the visual arts in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.