Magazine article UN Chronicle

Andean Man: Figures in Action Soar at UN Exhibit

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Andean Man: Figures in Action Soar at UN Exhibit

Article excerpt

Andean sculptor Peruko Ccopacatty has lived in the United States since 1981, but as he said in a recent interview about a retrospective exhibit of his work in the United Nations Secretariat lobby last year, "I have never left Peru". Born in 1946 in an island in the middle of Lake Titicaca, he pays homage through his art to his ancient Aymara ancestors, the pre-Incan indigenous peoples who inhabit the Altiplano regions of Bolivia and Peru, as well as northern Chile and Argentina. He sees the exhibit, and his simultaneous acceptance in December 2003 of the United Nations Society of Writers and Artists Award of Excellence, as giving voice to the Aymara and, in a larger sense, to the indigenous peoples past and present. The show that held sway for two weeks at UN Headquarters was a mix of monumental figures crafted from metal and smaller maquettes--models for larger works. Several copper wall reliefs were also on display. Ccopacatty's signature dynamism--figures in action caught between one movement and another--was in full view, with each piece a testament to his over-the-top energy and exuberance. His themes of family, work, struggle and triumph are particular and yet at the same time universal. "My work represents a universal human drama", he explains. "It symbolizes the living actions of people, mostly struggling in life, the human condition."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Enter musicians with pipes, farmers wielding pickaxes and hoes, warriors taking long strides, an anguished mother cradling a child, and the family--the nuclear unit and the extended one. Using scrap metal as his prime medium, Ccopacatty, who fashions himself an environmental artist, creates fluid, live-action forms. "I chose metal because I am a man of steel; my society anciently worked in metal", he says of his 25-year career as a sculptor. "I work to liberate metal from scrap and make it a creation of art. …

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