Sandra Higgins is delighted to present the first solo exhibition in London by acclaimed Colombian painter Carlos Jacanamijoy. Yellow wind and root of the wind tree will bring together four recent paintings of medium and large format that follow Jacanamijoy’s major retrospective at MamBo, Bogota’s Museum of Modern Art, which took place in late 2013. Sandra Higgins will show several works from that exhibition, as well as new works never seen before.

Over the last 20 years, the “Maestro Jaca” (Master Jaca), as he is known in Colombia, has steadily built a strong reputation based on his abstract paintings, which depict landscapes inspired by the Colombian tropical rainforest where he grew up. The surreal and oneiric quality of Jacanamijoy’s work is largely informed by the rites and spiritual beliefs of the Inga community, the indigenous ethnic group he belongs to. The paintings express the way in which a modern-day Inga envisions the mysterious interactions of the natural world with the spiritual powers of the indigenous world. His works, thus, beautifully connect ancient traditions with contemporary sensibilities.

Jacanamijoy explores the specific questions of landscape and memory with vibrant colours and a shamanic view of nature, using native symbols to express a personal universe. These graphemes, which appear in each of his painting, constitute a large pictorial vocabulary that create a ‘reading’ experience that brings out the sensuality of his colours. Jaca’s is an abstract art that is, in fact, realistic, since it evokes a particular experience, which the artist summons from inside himself. It is a non-figurative type of painting that represents the artist’s vision and his universe, both material and intangible.

The complexity of Jaca’s inner world is such that he has spoken of his need to ‘shamanise’ his work as a painter. This stance is, no doubt, indebted to the artist’s father, which was a Inga shaman. Jaca has explained that in order to participate in the shamanistic ritual of the yajé, he experimented with ayahuasca, an hallucinogenic brew of various plants, from an early age. These psychedelic experiences strongly shaped his ability not just to see colours, but also to “feel” them, a synaesthetic experience that has been translating to his paintings since ever since and that confer his work a unique quality.