Examiner.com Interview: Jeffery Pritchett interviews Howard G. Charing
This interview is about Pablo Amaringo and his beautiful art that were inspired through Ayahuasca. Howard G. Charing gives us insight on his life and paintings in this interview in a unique perspective that only he could provide. As well as detailed descriptions of the ceremonies and experiences revolving around Ayahuasca. This interview is a walk between worlds and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. Presenting.
1. Could you please tell us how you got involved with Pablo and the creation of this wonderful book The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo?
View slideshow: Howard G. Charing on ‘The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo’
Barco Fantasma by Pablo Amaringo
Howard: My colleague and co-author Peter Cloudsley and I had known Pablo for many years, and it was always a special thrill to visit Pablo at his home in Pucallpa and look in wonder at his beautiful work. We did some ad-hoc interviews with him which were published, and we made notes about his about his paintings but the actual inspiration to work with Pablo on a major project such as this book came out of the blue – it came suddenly during an Ayahuasca ceremony at Mishana in the Peruvian Amazon. My visions that night were of the vivid creations, motifs, and forms of Pablo’s paintings. The ceremony culminated in what I can only describe as a lightning flash and a powerful message from the Ayahuasca to work with Pablo on a book of his new paintings.
The following day, I discussed the idea with Peter—he and I had worked together, since the 1990s, organizing ayahuasca and plant diet retreats in the Amazon, and we decided to visit Pablo in Pucallpa at the earliest opportunity, which was in February 2007, to discuss the idea of doing a book with him. When we told him about the idea, Pablo’s face immediately lit up with enthusiasm and there and then, we agreed to collaborate on this book.
All in all, this was a complex project. We formed a detailed plan, the first step of which was to catalogue and have all of Pablo’s available paintings and sketches professionally photographed and later digitally scanned. Pablo gave us hundreds of pages of his notes and journals, which he had kept in his house. We had many meetings with Pablo to discuss and explore the multifaceted qualities of his paintings. Each session generated new questions, which necessitated further trips to Pucallpa before we were in a position to complete the narratives that accompany the paintings themselves.
Angeles Avatares by Pablo Amaringo
2. With written contributions by Graham Hancock, Jeremy Narby, Robert Venosa, Dennis McKenna, Stephan Beyer, and Jan Kounen. Would you tell us about some of the content added by these fellow journeymen and women and the central theme they outline about Pablo’s life and vision?
Howard: We were really delighted and honoured by their contribution to the book. Each of them had a different perspective about the importance and influence of Pablo’s work, as well as some personal anecdotes. When we approached them to write a contribution, they were all happy to do this despite their busy work schedules. Dennis McKenna’s contribution covered his early encounters in the 1980’s with Pablo that ultimately led to Pablo’s book ‘Ayahuasca Visions – The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman’ in collaboration with Eduardo Luna. That book had an enormous impact when it was published in 1991. Pablo’s stunning visual portrayal of the magical domain of Ayahuasca generated a huge interest in the hitherto little known mythological, spiritual, and shamanic world of the Amazon. It opened this mysterious world to the West, and it had an incredible influence both from an ‘art’ and an anthropological perspective. Talking about Pablo’s art depicting the amazingly rich mythological texture and content of the Amazonian peoples, reminds me that some years back I was on a bus in Iquitos with a group of young missionaries wearing their uniform white shirts and ties and I started to talk to them about what they were doing and so on, and one of them replied ‘We are here to teach the local people beliefs as they don’t have any’. It was an arrogant and ignorant statement bordering on the ludicrous, but clearly they were not acquainted with Pablo’s work, as if they had maybe they would have to adjust their view. Continue reading