BEHIND THE LENS
THE COLOMBIAN AMAZON BY ANA GONZÁLEZ ROJAS
For Colombian artist Ana Gonzalez Rojas, there was never a doubt she would work in the arts, but a question of which medium she would apply her skills to. After studying Architecture at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, she moved to Dublin to specialize in Art and Gender, and later to Paris, where she completed a Masters in Art and Media, in addition to courses in Photography, Porcelain and Engraving.
Despite having gained significant international recognition and celebrated numerous exhibitions abroad, her main inspiration and subject matter remain rooted in her native Colombian heritage. Through her work, she has become well-versed in local craftsmanship and indigenous communities, traveling extensively throughout the country. One such project led her on a magical trip to the Amazons, which she shares exclusively with us below.
What brought you to the Amazon?
I went to the Amazon to photograph indigenous communities with the photographer Ruvén Afanador for our project Hijas del Agua. Leticia, its capital, is an Amazonian Macondo, where anything can happen, and at the same time, is a small city in the middle of the jungle where not much happens. Life is in the river, by the river and for the river. Its sunsets, which we witnessed from the boats that took us into the jungle accompanied by dolphins,marked me, they are the most beautiful I have seen in my life,
What does the Amazon smell like?
It smells of ripe fruit, palm tree, and greenery.
What does the Amazon taste like?
Pirarucú fish, water, wind from the river.
Best discovery of the trip?
The Calanoa hotel in the middle of the jungle. Small, carefully built by an architect-artist-anthropologist who owns the hotel, on the Amazon River, with pathways through the jungle. Unforgettable dinners in a big, beautiful kiosk, and a liquor that we never figured out what it was.
If you had to pick one favorite thing from the Amazon, what would it be?
The tree with the passerine birds. Its sound, like falling drops of water, remains in my heart.
What was your first impression of the Amazon?
Abundance, a return to the origin of everything, green, jungle, spaciousness, a pink river, wind from the river.
When traveling to the Amazon, you can’t miss____.
Isla de los Micos.
A typical food or drink?
The Pirarucú (an Amazon River fish).
Something that everyone should know before visiting the Amazon?
The Amazon is being deforested, the felling of forests for mining, to search for gold and other metals is killing off this beautiful place by leaps and bounds. Covid aggravated this situation. Gold, stockbreeding and logging are its greatest threats.
What is most unique about the Amazon, something you haven’t seen anywhere else?
The Ceibas, 60 meters or more in height, these trees in the Amazon jungles host countless species of fauna and flora on their branches.
What do you define as beauty?
Anything that takes my breath away and makes me feel happy in this world.