Most painters we work with started their career at the Usko-Ayar School (Quecha term for “Spiritual Prince”) in Pucallpa in the time that Pablo Amaringo, the founder, was still alive. The younger painters that are affiliated with the style often followed another art education. Their training was not purely art-related but also involved knowledge of the ecosystems and philosophy and ‘bien vivir’ – living in harmony with nature and fellow human beings. The related values are still held high by the painters and are expressed through their paintings that they often refer to as ‘Arte Medicinal’. Their art is a documentation of the flora, fauna, and culture of the Amazon, and it promotes and preserves the traditional knowledge of medicinal and other plants of this region.
The Usko-Ayar Amazonian School of Painting was created in 1988 through a collaboration of Peruvian painter and Shaman, Pablo Amaringo, and the Colombian anthropologist Luis Eduardo Luna and his wife, Sirpa Rasanen. The first pupils remain today as teachers, and the school has more than 700 students. The school is open to all and is free of costs.