Pablo Amaringo
Shaman and painter

July 4 2013

Amaringo’s paintings give a good impression of the quality of an ayahuasca vision.

Pablo César Amaringo Shuna was born in Puerto Libertad in the Peruvian Amazon. He was ten years old when he first took ayahuasca. Raised in extreme poverty, for a short time Pablo hand-painted counterfeit banknotes, ultimately spending ten months in jails and a Pucallpa prison for his crime. A severe heart illness—and the magical treatment of this illness via ayahuasca—led Pablo toward the life of a shaman, and he eventually became a powerful vegetalista, learning the icaros, or healing songs, that the brew taught him.

In 1977, responding to a magical conflict he’d been having with a sorcerer, Pablo abandoned his vocation as a shaman. Being adept at art, he spent some time first making portraits with pencil and charcoal, and later drawing and painting animals and landscapes. In 1985 Pablo met Luis Eduardo Luna. On seeing Pablo’s art, Luna asked him if he might be able to remember and paint some of his past ayahuasca visions. Pablo agreed. The prolific series of paintings that resulted from this meeting drew a great deal of attention to Pablo as an artist. Some of paintings from this series of works appear in a book he co-authored with Luna, and additional paintings have appeared on the covers of books by others, as well as in a posthumously released compilation of his art. In June of 1988, Pablo opened USKO-AYAR: Escuela de Pintura Amazonica, a school for painting where students could come to learn free of charge.

Pablo occasionally spoke about his life as a shaman and artist, and provided art instruction, at seminars and conferences outside of Peru. Events where Pablo appeared included the Mind States conference in California, the Guaria de Osa Centre in Costa Rica, and the Ayahuasca Healing Retreat in Brazil.

Before he passed away, Pablo was working on paintings of angels, as well as paintings that documented the flora and fauna of the Amazon.


Pablo Amaringo on Shamanism