The Canelos Quichua-speaking people of eastern Ecuador make the finest traditional ceramics to be found in Amazonian South America, a practice deeply embedded in their history, culture, and contemporary lives. This exhibition, featuring 100 works from the Melza and Ted Barr Collection, is one of the first of its kind in an art museum. The bowls, vessels, and sculpture that make up this collection represent a geographic area ranging from the canopied Andean foothills through the Upper Amazonian regions. The Barrs acquired many of them while living in Quito, Ecuador, in the late 1980s, adding additional pieces on subsequent trips to the region in the early 1990s. Selected for their craftsmanship, subject matter, and creativity of design, the pieces elucidate a variety of Amazonian pottery making and practices and offer insight into cultural mythologies, suggesting the potters’ long-held – and rapidly changing – views of the world around them.
This exhibition is made possible in part by a grant from SMAC.