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Artist testimonies and interviews - 2018

Carla Van Del Berg - Sculpture Trail

Italy -December  2018

How has the Amazon Rainforest influenced your art practice?
The Amazon influenced my work on so many different levels, but at the same time, I think there must be only a few human beings in the world who could manage not being influenced in such an environment.
For starters the multitude of lines and patterns and shapes nature has to offer were overwhelming.  I felt like everything needed an exaggerated amount of attention, for everything is beautifully powerful in the jungle. Spending a month immersed in the rainforest is what made me realize my love for tiny details.  It made me pay more attention to the small things and creatures that live with us and that we barely consider.
And as an extra, I’ve also learned that nature itself can become not only the subject of a work but also the tool to make it. Stones for colour, Sticks for brushes and Leaves for prints. Which I think is just too fascinating.

Lorraine Buckrell - Painter

CANADA  - October  2018

Must love adventure, nature and mud! Sachaqua Centro De Arte is a unique gem of an art residency that facilitates both an experience and space for developing your craft, along with an ecological, cultural adventure. The center, run and owned by Trina and Daniel Lerner, rests a few minutes walk uphill from the small village of San Roque, where you might feel like you have stepped back in time. Most days in town you’ll find Locals selling fresh fruit outside their homes, along with packs of dogs and kids roaming the streets, playing outside in the main plaza. On dry days, you’ll see coffee beans, cacao and peanuts being roasted in the sun and hear the daily buzz of motor taxis transporting locals and visitors to and from the city of Tarapoto.  Life is slow and simple in San Roque and the art center. It’s not easy, there are many challenges, but that’s what helped me connect to a deeper appreciation and gratitude for what truly matters. What seemed important back home somehow lost its grip on me when moving through my day in the jungle.  The climate slows you down. The jungle asks you to take your time, be present with what’s in front of you. You don’t want to miss the sounds of the insects; the changing skies, the brilliant colors of the butterflies, or the beautifully patterned moths with wingspans the size of your palm.


Sachaqa, provided me with the time and space to begin my mornings early and quietly. In my small house, built with traditional, organic materials from the rainforest, I’d get up with the sun and the call of my Feline roommate, Grace Jones.   After the first week of adapting, I found myself in a routine of meditation and writing, drinking coffee, while reflecting and mapping out ideas for potential paintings. By 11 am I’d make my way down to the large airy studio, which I had to myself along with a few resident geckos. Back in Canada, that kind of distraction free, quality time, along with the working space just doesn’t exist for me. I took advantage and used it fully. Occasionally I broke up my focus with days off hiking or taking an adventure with Sacharuna Adventure, run by Daniel Lerner.


Living so closely with the environment was such a gift that helped wash away all agendas so I could focus on what was coming through me, via a deep call to be quiet and connect with myself and the sounds of nature. Like an unbroken meditation, with the jungle as my mirror, I was provided with what I needed to learn, to face my blocks, my fears and anxieties, in my life and my practice.


As I readapt to my life in Canada with fresh eyes, I long for the simplicity and the slower, deeper quality of living in San Roque. I feel truly grateful for the gifts and new perspectives I received from my time at Sachaqua Centro de Arte.

Nolan Salix and family - professor, painter and installation artist.  

USA  - December  2018

The Sachaqa Art Residency was a challenging, transforming, and very rewarding experience for me and my family. I attended the residency with my family (wife and two daughters 7 and 12). My wife and daughters had never traveled outside the USA, so it was a big step to take. Everything was amazing and new, from the motor-taxis, bugs, night sounds, and really the entirety of the experience.


During the Sachaqa experience, these challenges became the building blocks of the transformation in us and the rewarding outcome. The lack of fresh vegetables in the village ( you can buy fresh vegetables in the city of Tarapoto) pushed us to explore more of the traditional food in the village and eat more fresh fruits from the village. My older daughter worked with the local restaurant owner one afternoon to learn how to make the traditional dish “juane.” The hike up the hill became the daily routine and exercise. With our limited Spanish, we were still able to meet and work with the locals, planting trees, making art, shopping, and my girls learned to play tag and draw with the local kids with their limited Spanish and body language. We dressed in long pants and shirts for the mosquitoes and our fears of spiders waned as we learned more about their docile character, and became more comfortable seeing all sorts of interesting beautifully colored. My girls became intrigued by the amazing bugs we saw: stick bugs, leaf looking bugs, caterpillars, butterflies, etc. The last week of our trip we were walking through Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve on an Amazon boat Trip, and my girls were marveling over a large spider on an elaborate webs, they were enduring thick mosquitos, picking up land crabs and snail shells. The girls were rambling through the jungle like they were born to it.  Their new found strength, a transformation of their fears, was difficult at first, but will surely be something they remember and keep with them.


For me, the inability to get the carving tools and materials that I am used to using, prevented me from working in my more realistic style. It led my work into more stylized and symbolic forms. It also pushed me to work with a local carpenter, to utilize his skills and tools. My Spanish was limited but working with Carlos, it pushed me to improve my Spanish and utilize drawings for communication.


I was exposed to the landscape, myths, materials and knowledge. My sculpture became a sort of totem developed through the authentic connection to place. It was informed by experiences in San Roque, Chachapoyas, Chazuta, and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.  My work has a relationship with indigenous forms not through conscious mimicry, but through sharing sources of creative language based on place.  The strength of my experiences that Sachaqa has made available is the aesthetic transition into a new body of work that I will continue to explore for years to come.   

Website Nolan Salix -


Some unexpected joys of our Sachaqua experience included: the tasty indigenous food and plentiful fresh fruits; the availability of hiking opportunities right from the centre; the host kids Jacob and Leia were great companions for our kids and taught them a lot of Spanish; swimming in the Cumbaza River; bird watching; the friendliness of the locals and their patience with our poor Spanish; working with Daniel and the town of San Roque planting trees in the village or building plastic bottle bins; and the many amazing trips we did with Daniel (Chazuta, Kuelap, Amazon).


I highly recommend Sachaqa Centre de Art as well as Sacharuna Adventure for exploring beyond San Roque.

Bat Box

Mark Xuereb – Ceramics Program

Cyprus  - March 2018

I arrived at Sachaqa in March 2018 and spent a month there doing the ceramics program. As an artist I tend to work in many different media, from painting to sculpting to photography; I like to let the idea dictate the medium. Ceramics, however, thanks to its versatility has always been a favorite of mine.

Kirsten Perry - Building a kiln from local clay 

Australia - July 2018

Kirsten Perry is a ceramicist from Australia.  She came to Sachaqa to do a one-month ceramics program.  Through a trip to the neighboring port town of Chazuta, Kirsten discovered that it was possible to make a simple kiln out of clay.   We offer Shuntu firing at the center which means firing work on an open fire.  But with Kirsten’s experiment, she proved it possible to firework using special firewood and local clay.  I asked Kirsten to write a blog post on how she achieved this.   So you guys can all have a go when you visit the center.  Simple but so effective.  Thank you Kirsten for your adventurous spirit and your willingness to get your hands – in the earth.

Field recordings with the children of San Roque – Jenny Gräf

USA - June 2018

For the first few weeks in San Roque De Cumbaza I acclimated myself to my new surroundings.  Exploring sound through my human ears and through the ears of the technology I had brought with me.  Microphones are like portals to alternate realities.  A subtle interplay of frogs, cicadas, and birds can sound like a war-zone through a certain mic.  A pack of wild dogs barking far away can sound louder than your own footsteps.  A changed perception of sound can alter your sense of space.

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