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Bosques vivos


Close to 100 pieces made between 2009 and 2021 by self-taught indigenous artists from the Paraguayan Chaco are exhibited in “Bosques vivos”, the new exhibition in our Heritage Gallery, which is presented within the framework of the Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo del Sur (BIENALSUR).

The exhibition was curated by anthropologists Ursula Regehr and Verena Regehr-Gerber, who for decades have collaborated with indigenous communities and artists. The exhibition invites – through drawings made with black ink pen on paper, acrylic and carvings on wood, and some sheep wool  weavings – to contemplate, reflect and dialogue about the coexistence of human and non-human beings and the relationships with the environment from an indigenous perspective, as well as on destructive ecological practices, inequality and conflicts such as continuous colonization and massive deforestation for the production of cattle and soybeans, which in Chaco reaches 1,000 hectares per day for the sake of livestock and industrial agriculture.






The artists who participate with their works in this exhibition are Osvaldo Pitoe, Jorge Carema, Eurides Asque Gómez, Clemente Juliuz, Esteban Klassen, Marcos Ortiz, Efacio Álvarez, Richart Peralta, Evelina Luciano, Tsivinja Brisuela, Shashtoque Regina Pedro, Marcelina López, Tomasito Ricardo, Arias Falcón, Cristaldo Velázquez, Roberto Cáceres, Timoteo Carrizo, Kiko Segundo and Fabio González. In their works, they project their vision of the forests of Chaco, of coexistence and of the relationships between human and non-human beings. The exhibit proclaims the vulnerability of the forest, but also of those that inhabit it. The works thematize the ruptures and transformations they have had to face: the dispossession of their ancestral lands, the sedentarization in missions, the modification of their subsistence practices, wage labor and processes of forced conversion and assimilation.


The Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo del Sur (BIENALSUR) began in 2015. It is organized by Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) –Argentinian public university-. BIENALSUR connects the public from the five continents. The 2021 version takes place simultaneously in more than 124 venues, 24 countries and 50 cities around the world, from July to December, with the participation of around 400 artists. The exhibitions are held in different museums, cultural centers, buildings and emblematic areas of the public space. BIENALSUR seeks to generate a global network of institutional associative collaboration that eliminates distances and borders, and to assert uniqueness in diversity.

BINEALSUR is led by Aníbal Jozami and Diana Wechsler, Rector and Director of the Department of Art and Culture of UNTREF, who act as General Director and Artistic Director of the instance. In the case of Living Forests, the exhibition is coordinated by Fernando Farina from the curatorial team of BIENALSUR.

About the curators
  • Ursula Regehr is an anthropologist and works as a curator at Museum der Kulturen Basel, Switzerland. Since the late 1990s she has been collaborating with indigenous drawers, and together with her mother Verena, she made exhibitions and publications in Paraguay and Europe. She is an associate researcher at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the reconfiguration of indigenous ways of representation in multiple colonization processes in Chaco.
  • Verena Regehr-Gerber is an anthropologist living in Chaco, Paraguay. Since 1966 she has promoted the revitalization and recognition of indigenous forms of expression with a non-profit project. With her daughter Ursula and indigenous artists, she held several exhibitions in Asunción and in Chaco. She is collaborating, together with the NGO Espacios, with indigenous communities for the restitution of lands and the protection of the environment.

About the artists
  • Osvaldo Pitoe was born in 1963 in the Guaraní community of Pedro P. Peña. He lives with his family in Cayin ô Clim. He works as a laborer in the Neuland colony. He invented drawing with black pen together with Jorge Carema in 1998. His drawings are nourished by the memory of his childhood and what his parents taught him. In an extensive series, he refers to living off the forest and represents activities related to hunting, gathering and planting.
  • Jorge Carema was born 1967 in the Guaraní community of Pedro P. Peña. He lives with his family in Cayin ô Clim. He works in distant ranches as a tractor driver and in his spare time he draws. Together with Osvaldo Pitoe, he invented drawing with a black pen in 1998. Through drawing, he recalls his childhood near the Pilcomayo River.
  • Eurides Asque Gómez was born in 1977 in Philadelphia and was raised by his grandfather Toya’a in Cayin ô Clim. In his drawings, he refers to the memory and stories of his grandfather, as well as to his own observations of current life in his neighborhood. The transformations, the contrast and the conflicts between the different ways of being in the world, constitute the matter for his drawings. He passed away in 2019 from a chronic illness.
  • Clemente Juliuz was born in 1972 in Campo Alegre. The source of inspiration for his drawings and paintings was the forest. He portrayed animals, bees and insects in detail and expressed his concern about deforestation and the extinction of animals through his works. In 2021,  as a result of an accident, he passed away.
  • Marcos Ortiz was born in 1952 in the Maka community of Chaco’i. He attended school in Yalve Sanga until sixth grade. He has lived in Yiclôcat for many years, where he learned to carve palo santo wood, and in 2013 he joined the artistic collective. Peccaries remain his main motif, both in his drawings and in his sculptures. He creates surprising variations of this motif. He feels that today, the forest is far from his settlement and that there is nothing more to search and hunt for.
  • Esteban Klassen was born in 1969 in the Nivaclé community of Cayin ô Clim and lives in Yiclôcat. His father passed his Mennonite last name to him, he had adopted it from his employer. Due to the lack of wage work, from a young age, he has made carvings of palo santo, and in 2011 he began to draw. He prefers motifs with shamanic meaning, such as the jaguar, the jabirú and mice, which are auxiliary spirits of the shaman. In his drawings he non-verbally refers to the songs and shamanic knowledge of his grandfather.
  • Efacio Álvarez was born in 1988 in Yiclôcat where he still lives. The main motif of his graphic representations is the relationship between hunter and prey. He draws jaguars on the prowl, chasing and devouring different animals in the forest. As he explains, the Nivacle consider the jaguar as a person, equivalent to the human hunter.
  • Richart Peralta was born in 1996 in Campo Alegre, an agricultural settlement, where he attended school until ninth grade. Already in school he liked to draw. He patiently observed lobsters, dragonflies and other insects that abound in the Paraguayan Chaco. Today he lives with his family in Yacac’vash. He works cleaning pickets and logging. He is the youngest member of the artistic collective. The drawings on display are his first works.

See more about BIENALSUR




From December 29 | 2021
Tuesday to Sunday | 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Heritage Gallery | Level -1
Free admission | Limited capacity

MOBILITY PASS | Attendees older than 15 years of age must present their mobility pass at the entrance to the cultural centre in accordance with current health regulations. People without a mobility pass will only be able to attend on Tuesdays between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm and on Thursdays between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm. All of the above in accordance with the provisions of the health authority within the framework of the Step by Step plan.

© Marcos Ortiz, 2020.