Assemblage – feathers, driftwood, mixed media.

182cm x 130cm.


The title of this piece, Natemamu, is the name given to a coming of age initiation of the Shuar people of the Ecuadorian Amazon. It involves initiation with both Tobacco Rustica, and with Banisteriopsis Caapi, the vine of souls, or the vine of the dead, over the course of a week-long ceremony. Straight away upon my return to the UK, I felt the strong urge to make this piece, which although mainly constructed with wood from a flooded river system near Exeter, and feathers from the many Pheasants that have no road sense around these parts, also contains many seeds collected in the Amazon, and the energy of the ceremony which was still strongly present during its construction.

The feathers on the top half of the piece are glued along their spines and individually fixed down, while the feathers on the lower half are attached by piercing the canvas, inserting each feather indivdually and fixing with glue on the back of the canvas.

The markings that form on these pieces of driftwood occur when a particular fungus starts to grow between the bark and the sapwood. If the wood is then dried at this stage, the decay is suspended and the beautiful markings remain.

The seeds have a hole drilled through each one, and are sewn through the canvas one by one.

The distinctive black and red Huayruro seeds are used as a means of protection by the curandero’s of the Amazon.