Bora tribe member - whose family benefited from Irish revolutionary Roger Casement's work - is exhibiting his work in Dublin today
A Bora tribe member - whose family benefited from the work of Irish revolutionary Roger Casement - has travelled to Ireland to be part of an exhibition of Amazon painters.
Darwin Rodríguez Torrez (28) is a plastics artist who was born in Loreto and belongs to the Bora indigenous people. His art depicts the Bora people’s spirituality and their relationship with the Amazon rainforest.
Darwin’s grandparents were among the thousands of South American natives who suffered under British rubber plantation companies at the beginning of the century.
Roger Casement, who at the time was working as a diplomat on behalf of the British government, was sent to investigate alleged atrocities committed by the Peruvian Amazon Company following his expose of enslavement and torture of rubber workers in the Congo. His research exposed the brutality experienced by the workers along the Peru-Colombia border - including beatings, floggings and shootings.
Darwin said that Casement – who was executed for treason in 1916 after he was found importing guns to help the Irish cause - is held in high regard for his work in the area.
"My great grandparents lived during the times of the rubber exploitation, when we lost many relatives, many children, some of whom were taken to Europe in the same rubber ships. We do not know what became of them," he said. "I have Casement very present in my mind and the Bora people remember him because he came to denounce this ill treatment and helped to stop the exploitation.”
Darwin’s paintings are on display along with Roldán Pinedo Lopez (47) from Wednesday September 26 until Friday 28 September at the Georgian Society on South William Street.
Roldán was born in Ucayali and belongs to this Shipibo-konibo indigenous people. His paintings are inspired by ‘ayahuasca’ - an hallucinogenic herb which is used for therapeutic and spiritual purposes. It is also the core element in Amazon traditional medicine.
The exhibition was organised by the new ambassador of Peru Carmen McEvoy. She said: “These artists come to show Ireland the mythical, multi-coloured and creative universe of the largest ecological reserve in Peru."
In addition to the art show, there will be a talk specifically about Roger Casement at 6pm in the Royal Dublin Society (RDS). The talk entitled ‘Crossing borders, forging Republics. Roger Casement and his experience in Peru’ will address Casement’s diligent reporting of human rights abuses but how he had to leave Peru under threats from rubber bosses. He was later knighted for his humanitarian work.