Ogwa (1943 - )

Los cuaties ponen sus nidos encima de los cocoteros (1996)
The Coatis make their Nests on the Coconut Palms

Pencil in paper
height: 23cm
width: 32cm

Donated by Ogwa 1997


The self-taught artist Ogwa, an indigenous Ishir from Alto Paraguay, is better known for his illustrations of traditional rituals and shamanic visions but he also has a sharp eye for the natural world. The coati is a member of the racoon family and, as Ogwa illustrates, the females make nests of leaves and branches in the tops of coconut trees where they bear and raise their young until about the age of five months. Ogwa captures the characteristic busy-ness of the coati: they are always darting back and forth, 'as if they have lost something' as the Argentinian writer Horacio Quiroga put it, with their tails curving up over their backs. The repetition emphasises the comic incongruity of the idea of mammals nesting in treetops. Ogwa uses a very dry brush to create the texture of the leaves and bark of the coconut trees and outlines the coatis in black ballpoint pen.

Valerie Fraser, 01/12/2008

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