The Native American artists of Tigua, Ecuador have a short artistic history, but a very deep and rich cultural history.  They are direct descendants of the Incan and pre-Incan populations who've inhabited this high Andean region for centuries.  But, their recent entree into the international world of Fine Art dates back only to the 1970's.  This is when a poor laborer of the area named Julio Toaquiza stumbled upon his innate talent as an artist by painting on traditional drums for an antique dealer wishing to market these items.  

Mr. Toaquiza's designs were in great demand and eventually led to a thriving cottage industry which employed and supported a growing number of his relatives and friends from the town of Tigua.  Painting on drums has since led to the more common practice of painting on stretched sheep skin canvasses for the folk art shops of Quito and beyond.  

Since those days of Julio's earliest successes, the popularity of Tigua Art has spread to other villages and continues to grow in its cultural, social and economic influence.  The subject matter of these paintings usually reflect the immediate surrounding Andean landscape, and the traditional and ritualistic life-style of the native population.  These scenes are rendered in a charming naif folk style using bright, colorful enamel paints.  
In the words of artist and co-op president, Alfredo Toaquiza,  "The artists of Tigua represent indigenous life throughout Ecuador...For us what is most important is the expression of the earth and its many faces. Our communal way of life ensures our unity, reflects our history, and guarantees our future existence."  

Tigua Paintings can be found on exhibit in the United States and Europe in galleries and museums thanks in part to the efforts of UC Berkeley based, Jean Colvin, who has worked enthusiastically to bring the best of this art to the world's attention.    

All inquiries are welcome.  We would like to spread the word on Tigua Art, and are delighted to be able to use the internet to bring the world's attention to a most remote people and their fascinating paintings. ~Gordon Polatnick
The Tigua Story
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