JEFFREY BECOM: THE PAINTED VILLAGES OF ECUADOR
Nov 23, 2020 – Jan 20, 2021
For nearly three decades I have been documenting the legacy of pre-colonial indigenous cultures across Latin America. Most recently I focused my camera on the rural Andean villages of South America. I photograph evidence of how ancient traditions have survived through these native people’s beliefs, festivals, and vernacular architecture.
I come to my photography as a life-long painter with formal training as an architect. For me these three pursuits ignite a singular passion: the significance of a culture’s use of color on their homes, churches, and tombs. The paint on these façades offers me subject and palette from which to derive my own artwork. But even more, painted architectural traditions provide threads to follow, stories to unearth, and mysteries to solve.
Paint, then, and specifically the powerful myths and meanings behind a culture’s use of color has become my life’s calling. I find artistic inspiration in ever more remote places populated by ritual-bound peoples whose architectural color springs organically from their history, geography, and faith.
This exhibition is my way of celebrating the endurance of Ecuador’s native people and their culture. For this reason it is critical that I capture the colors, subjects, and details exactly as found. My color quest across the Andes is ongoing, with travels beginning soon in Bolivia.
Jeffrey Becom, 2020