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Several tens of thousands of years have gone by since humans came to America. Innumerable peoples and cultures have lived here, constructing a history from place to place while adapting the primordial gods, the archetypal images, to their particular environments, creating cosmogonies where the origins of human beings, animals, plants and gods are bound together in a knot that time has tightened. In the cosmogony and mythology of every people, the essential facts of human existence are repeated, taking local forces as protagonists and witnesses. Each hill, lake, river, desert, valley or stone participates in the creation of the Cosmos, and has a direct, personal relationship with the inhabitants who observe it and give it a name.


Jung says that the soul contains all the images from which myths have arisen and our unconscious mind is an active and passive subject whose drama man (…) finds repeated in all big and small natural processes. For this reason, any manifestation of nature has an allegorical character. Humanity has never lacked powerful images that gave it protection against the disquieting life of the depths of the soul. The patterns in the unconscious mind have always been revealed through protective and beneficent images that permit the soul’s drama to be projected out into cosmic space. These are the primordial images that Jung called archetypes, because of the universal coincidence of mythological themes.


The interpretation of these themes in images is the object of this study; the representations take as their setting the extraordinary landscapes of America, and as their inspiration the ancestral spirits of peoples who still keep them alive. This work is, then, a personal iconographical proposal, based on my visions, dreams and experiences among the admired aboriginal American cultures. It is a homage to them, to their wisdom, dignity and survival.


I have sought the Gods of America from the rough, steep Sierra Madre Occidental of the Huichol to the lush heart of the Amazon forest of the Piaroa and Kayapo; from the cloud forests of the Kogui in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to the serene Caribbean sea of the Kuna at Kuna Yala; from the enigmatic Gran Sabana of the Pemón to the austere deserts of the Wayuú; from the coastal forests of the Wiwa to the majestic Andean peaks of the Quero.


As numerous as the rivers that run through America are the languages that invoke its spirits. Its gods – gods of the human race – have been destroyed a thousand times and a thousand times been born again to reign and rule over our destinies. And so they will go on until the end of time, for long after the last of us has disappeared they will continue to exist as our most intimate and primordial Natural Pantheon.


This work covered ten cultures from six countries, and was done between 2001 and 2007:  Huichol (Mexico 2001), Piaroa (Venezuela 2002), Kogui y Wiwa (Colombia 2003), Wayuu (Venezuela 2005), Kuna (Panama 2005), Quero (Perú 2005), Kayapo (Brasil 2006), Ye´Kuana y Pemon (Venezuela 2007).

Antonio Briceño

May 2007

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