Ramón Piaguaje Visual Artist
Ramón Piaguaje was born in 1962 in the Cuyabeno Reserve in the Amazon rainforest, Ecuador. He is the son of Cecilio Piaguaje, the Chief of the Secoya Indians. He lives with his wife and four children deep in the rainforest in Secoya territory, close to the Aguarico River. From an early age, he drew the rainforest with his fingers in the sand and later worked with black ink on paper. The discovery of colored pencils at the evangelical missionary school he later attended enabled him to further develop his talent. In 1993, an American anthropologist, William Vickers, who had been studying the Secoya Indians for many years, spotted him drawing and recognised the quality of his work. He gave him some tubes of oil paints and encouraged him to paint in colour, something which Ramón Piaguaje had been unaware it was possible to do. He spent months experimenting with the colours he had, attempting to replicate the extraordinary range of colours to be found in the trees, flowers, and wildlife around him. Within a year he had developed an astonishing eye and memory for colour. William Vickers helped to organise an exhibition of his work at the Catholic University in Quito, Ecuador.