Pablo Amaringo: Ayahuasca Visions

Humanity and Nature in the Peruvian Amazon

Ashley VanDuren

My name is Ashley VanDuren and my portfolio is titled: ‘Pablo Amaringo: Ayahuasca Visions’. The type of license that I will be using is a CC BY-NC license.


The work of Pablo Amaringo captures detailed, nature-driven, complex ideas, and has been celebrated for the ability to encourage audiences to think about the relationship between people and nature.


A photo of Pablo Amaringo during the 2002 Ayahuasca Healing Retreat, held in the Brazilian Amazon.

Pablo Amaringo is a Peruvian artist. His work features intricately detailed and colorful scenery that was made to replicate visions he saw after he drank the entheogenic plant brew Ayahuasca.

Pablo Amaringo was born in Puerto Libertad on the banks of the Ucayali River near Iquitos in 1943, and sadly passed away in 2009. He was very ill with heart problems and began relying on Amazonian plants as medicine. One of those being the entheogenic plant brew Ayahuasca. This brew gave him hallucinogenic visions, and he would paint these visions that he saw after drinking it. He often did not use traditional paint, instead choosing to use things such as lipstick, and cardboard boxes as canvases because he could not afford traditional paint and canvases.

Before becoming a painter, Pablo Amaringo was a shaman. Amaringo became one due to crediting his cure for his heart condition to a local shaman. He learned many healing techniques so he could practice on his own. He mentioned in an interview that a shaman gains their answers from nature itself, and uses that information for healing and education. This statement from him directly reflects his personal experience of using plants as medicine, as well as his connection with plants present in his usage of Ayahuasca for visions to create his paintings.


Mr. Amaringo’s artwork has been shown worldwide. It has also been given the Global 500 Award from the United nations environmental program in 1992.

Amaringo’s success and admiration for his paintings around the world allowed him to co-found the Usko Ayar School of Painting dedicated to the local youth so he could teach his painting techniques. His school was free to enroll and participate in, also allowing for former students to become teachers.


Untitled work by Pablo Amaringo

The artwork Amaringo created over the years uses themes such as dreams, humanity, nature, and their interactions with each other. He accomplishes this by portraying unique depictions of creatures and people in their environment. Everything from the way the images are drawn, to the colors used to show them, help Amaringo accomplish his themes in his work.

In the photo example given above, these themes can be seen in the people he painted morphing into the trees with brightly colored markings on their skin blending into the nature. Looking at it from a distance, at first glance you would see a colorful forest, but upon closer inspection, the people intertwined in the branches and in them become more evident. This highlights a theme of people interacting with nature in a harmonious way in the Amazon.


Untitled work by Pablo Amaringo

Similar to the painting example listed before, this piece becomes more intricate the more it is examined. From a distance it appears as though it is a brightly colored village, but close up, you begin to notice the dragon-like creatures and snakes on the bottom, how some of the people are mermaids, and the fantasy looking buildings in the background.


His first time creating the paintings of his visions became a part of a book project called Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman, that was published in 1999.


His work brings a lot of light into the Peruvian Amazon in portraying unique cultures and scenery in his art that is not seen in many other places. The harmonious relationship between people and nature is not evident in most places, and Pablo Amaringo shows the immense difference in interpretation and appreciation of nature that people in the Peruvian Amazon have that others don’t. The Amazon is a high risk environment commonly being damaged by global warming, deforestation, habitat destruction, and more. The people living in, and around the Amazon have a much deeper appreciation for nature, while others choose to exploit nature’s resources. Pablo Amaringo’s work reflects this deeper appreciation and harmonious relationship between man and nature, which is an immense contrast to the damaging relationship most of the world is causing to the environment.

Pablo Amaringo takes a more fantasy-like approach to portraying this relationship due to his paintings being visions he sees after drinking the Ayahuasca brew. This factor sets him apart from many other artists due to his unique methods of creating his artwork through hallucinogenic visions.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Pablo Amaringo: Ayahuasca Visions Copyright © by Ashley VanDuren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book