Shamanic Visions

Ayahuasca arts in the peruvian amazon


The exhibition explores contemporary issues linked to the relationship between hallucinogenic images and iconographic production, using ayahuasca as a case study.

While ayahuasca literally ‘vine of the dead’ in Quechua has fascinated the Western world for just half a century, after it was popularised by the Beat Generation, this hallucinogenic beverage occupies a central place in the social life of many indigenous societies in the Western Amazon.

Traditionally ingested in a shamanic context, mainly for therapeutic or divination purposes, this ‘psychedelic’ substance is also closely linked to artistic creation. The ‘visions’ or hallucinations it induces are often cited as a leading source of inspiration by indigenous artists in the Peruvian Amazon.

The exhibition presents a panorama of the different ways in which these ayahuasca-induced ‘visionary images’ are represented today. From the refined, geometric iconography of the Shipibos-Konibos to the literary (William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg) and audiovisual (Jan Kounen) productions of the 20th and 21st centuries, it offers a veritable dive into art under its influence.

  • Exhibition curator: David Dupuis, Doctor of Anthropology, Research Fellow at INSERM (IRIS/EHESS)
  • Number of works: 105
  • Surface area required: 400 - 600 m²
  • Catalogue of the exhibition available in French (224 pages, Co-published by musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac/Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais)

This exhibition has been presented at:

  • musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, from November 14, 2023 to May 26, 2024
  • Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts, Norwich, United Kingdom, from September 14, 2024 to February 2, 2025