Overview

Overview

For 10 days, 15 passionate writers, artists and filmmakers will be submerged in the density of the Peruvian Amazonas and the lives of the local Shawi. Guided by a diverse Team of acclaimed international creatives and Peruvian indigenous leaders, participants will be exposed to the raw nature of the rainforest, conflicting forces impacting indigenous communities and sustainable activities to address climate change.

Each participant will develop a short provocation/artwork under the guidance and supervision of the Team. Unlike other workshops, the local inhabitants will not be mere characters in these stories but will serve as mentors, project collaborators and cultural mediators. The process of creation will require some form of partnership between local and international storytellers in defining, style, method, message and culture.

The workshop will take place in various setting including the urban river-based culture of Iquitos, the tropical rainforest surroundings of the Tambopata National Reserve, and the facilities of Formabiap’s indigenous bi-lingual education centre at Zúngarococha. Due to the geographical characteristics of the zone, mobility is made exclusively in motorboats and by foot to delve into the tropical jungle.

All accommodations, meals and logistics are included in the workshop enrollment fee and arranged by the Team. Given the diversity of locations, accommodation will range from comfortable river lodges to rough field camps in the rainforest itself. Transportation will be predominantly by canoe and participants should carry daily essentials/equipment in the dry bags provided as part of the Field Kit.



The workshop is eminently practical, so it is essential that participants are autonomous and have knowledge of their own artistic process as well as have access to their own necessary tools and equipment.

The fieldwork will be enriched with daily Master Classes and dialogues concerning the principal challenges that the storyteller has to face in various phases of creation. Each mentor will share his/her own method of working, style and technique with the writers, artists and filmmakers of the workshop.

For participants to take full advantage of the ten days, they will be provided with a workshop field kit for them to familiarize themselves prior to arrival. The Field Kit, that comes with a dry sack to protect essentials during fieldwork, includes equipment, materials and all the basic information needed to allow participants an easy plunge into creation and inspiration.

To protect the well being of the participants and the conservation of the wide array of fauna and flora, daily destination groups of 3 – 5 participants, freely chosen, will be constituted. Each team will be accompanied by a local guide.



“The people’s gestures are unfamiliar, gentle and lovely; they move their hands like orchestral conductors in time with a soft, shy melody that emanates cautiously from the depths of the forest, like wild creatures that emerge from the sheltering leaves now and then to go down to the rivers”

Werner Herzog
Program

Program

To ensure participants get the most out of mentoring while ensuring time and space to develop their own artwork, the workshop will be organized around two distinct phases: Inspiration (Masterclass) & Creation (Artist’s Residence).

DAILY SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES

coming soon

Locations

Locations

To speak about Loreto, the Amazon region of Peru is to speak about authentically indigenous and mestizo populations, about ancestrally inalienable territories, that is, about indigenous, rural, and urban cultures. Iquitos moves between the traditional and the modern; various places in Iquitos echo the history and world views of these indigenous peoples, interwoven within the different urban societies.


IQUITOS

No roads lead to Iquitos. Situated in the middle of the Peruvian rainforest, on the Amazon, Nanay, and Itaya Rivers, the area is accessible to the outside world only by plane or boat. It is essentially an island, surrounded by jungle instead of the sea. From a distance, it’s easy to build fantasies about such a place — to meld tropical mythologies into a sensual utopia. Iquitos is where Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo dreamt of an opera paradise.

Its remoteness has fostered a unique culture. Europeans have been in the area since early Spanish colonial times, but the full weight of foreign influence and exploitation did not hit Iquitos until the rubber boom of the 19th century. As the city developed under the amoral eye of capitalism, indigenous traditions remained stronger, and Catholic customs weaker, than in much of Peru.

Today, Iquitos is the meeting point for opposing desires. There is the outsider’s desire for an isolated tropical paradise complete with beautiful ‘natives’. And there is the local’s desire for self-realization, free sexual expression, and connection with the world at large. (from “The Pink and Gold Jungle”)


ALLPAHUAYO-MISHANA NATIONAL RESERVE

The Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve is a protected area in Peru located southwest of Iquitos in the Loreto Region, Maynas Province. The Nanay River flows through the northern part of the reserve.

It was created in 1999 and covers an area of 142,272 acres. The Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve contains 500 varieties of trees per 2.5 acres, more than anywhere else on Earth, and nearly 100 unique plant species.

There are over 1,900 flora species; 475 bird species; 143 species of reptiles; 71 species of amphibians; more than 90 species of parasitic wasps; and more butterfly species than any other site in the world. More than 500 species of animals over 2.5 centimetres in length were found in a three-quarter hectare area of the Reserve.

The rainforest in the Reserve is composed of several soil types – ranging from rare white quartz sands to red clays – and each of these soil types supports a unique community of plants and animals. Three species of endangered primates are found within the reserve, and for two of them, the Yellow-handed Titi Monkey, and the Equatorial Saki Monkey, the Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve is the only place in Peru where these monkeys and their habitat have been officially protected.


Walking past the enormous lianas, stumbling over the impressive roots of 40-metre trees and hearing echoing calls of invisible animals ringing through the trees, we could feel the spirit of the jungle around us.

Stopping to rest and cool down in the many streams that are the veins holding the lifeblood of the jungle, we could see the water glistening red in the sun, coloured by the leaves floating slowly by us as we sat.

The sunsets that greeted our return to the lodge after a day of work offered yet another amazing sight, the colours of the land melting into one another as the fading light draped itself over the land. It is a fleeting moment but one that must be seen to be believed.

The nights offered something different still, a counterpoint to the brightness of the days where the noises and the movements of the nocturnal animals around us created an entirely new atmosphere in the jungle to be explored.

ALLPAHUAYO MISHANA BED & TREES

ZUNGAROCOCHA EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY

In the Peruvian Amazon, Formabiap has been a steady force for the advancement of intercultural bilingual education in a country where there are still many inequalities for indigenous peoples. Working hand in hand with indigenous organizations, communities and allies, Formabiap celebrates its 30 years training teachers from indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon.

Formabiap’s Educational Community Zungarococha (CEZ) is located between the road Quistococha-Corrientillo penetration and the shores of Lake Zungarococha, one of the arms of the Nanay River. Located 45 minutes from the city of Iquitos, it comprises an area of ​​19 hectares, 14 of which are covered by recovering forests, managed and cared for by workers and field technicians, teachers and students of different indigenous peoples.

In Zungarococha you can see the various bird species typical of the region, found in well-reforested forests of the educational community, a shelter that allows them to survive. In this way, you can observe the bocholocho or paucar (Psarocolius decumanus), to the victor diaz (Great Kiskadee), to the sui sui (blue-grey tanager), to the Shihuango (yellow-headed caracara) or Catalan or kingfisher (Ceryle torquatus), and some species of monkeys, among others.

Similarly, you can find the rich biodiversity of plant species, many of them recovered by teachers and the team responsible for the CEZ. Over 30 years, they have recovered a number of species that have disappeared almost entirely in other areas of the region. We can find timber and medicinal trees such as mahogany ( Swietenia macrophylla), cedar (Cedrela odorata), the screw (Cedrelinga catenaeformis), lupuna (Chorisia insignis HBK), grade blood (Croton lechleri), among other wood species. There are also different species of fruit such as macambo (Theobroma bicolour), Copoazu (Theobroma grandiflorum), aguaje (mauritia Flexuosa), grapefruit (Citrus paradasi), among others.

“We believe that through education we can generate change, but only with quality education, an education for indigenous peoples.”

Never Tuesta, Coordinator of FORMABIAP
Equipment & Materials

Equipment & Materials

The workshop is eminently practical, so it is essential that participants are autonomous and have knowledge of their craft, as well as have access to their own personal tools and equipment. In the rainforest, you can expect rains any time of the year. It is essential to keep your gear covered to ensure that sudden rainfall doesn’t impact the remainder of your trip.

FIELD KIT

30 days prior to your departure, you will receive at no additional charge the Workshop Field Kit designed by Real Lives, valued €500. It is essential that you familiarize yourself with the tools and information included, in order to get the most out of your experience. The Field Kit includes:

  • Day Pack: A waterproof, dry sack to serve as your day pack to protect important documents, equipment, art supplies, etc.
  • Virtual Idea Book: The Osmo Pocket 4 K personal recorder will help you capture ideas, inspiration, subjects, ambience and if you like, a travelogue.
  • Physical Idea Book: Heavy paper, a hardcover and an elastic binding is perfect to hold sketches, notes, mementoes and stories for future work.

Recommended Equipment

Portability and durability should be strongly considered in selecting what to bring. As we may not have access to electricity during daily excursions, low energy equipment and battery backup chargers are recommended. Laptops and other equipment left behind will be stored in locked peli cases.

Provided Equipment

In addition to a 4k cinema camera and a computer equipped with editing programs, the workshop will make available to participants on request with a 4k drone, 4k waterproof action cam, boom mic, a wireless mic kit and/or portable audio recorder.

Food, Lodging & Logistics

Food, Lodging & Logistics

Unlike most touristic experiences, the workshop has been designed to offer participants an authentic and pervasive immersion. The diet and accommodations have been specifically chosen to reinforce this in-depth and personal experience of the people, nature and places of the Peruvian Amazon: sharing their lives on their terms.

While every endeavour has been made to mitigate discomfort, authenticity over luxury has been the overriding criteria in selection.


ACCOMMODATION

We’ll be staying at river and rainforest eco-lodges in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Typically, bedrooms are thatched bungalows on raised wooden platforms with mosquito netting, each with a private bathroom and a porch. Air conditioning is not available nor ecologically sustainable..

Hammock sleeping, which is favoured in the region, is also recommended, especially for those planning onward travel by ‘lanchas’. These are the boats that carry dozens to hundreds of people to and from Iquitos and towns along the Amazon and major tributaries. Relaxing in a swaying hammock is also a lot more comfortable than sitting on a hard bench for a full day and is quite handy for artists sketching in the rainforest.

We recommend cotton hammocks which come in a variety of sizes and are good choices for backpackers travelling on boats and sleeping in rural lodges. They are bulkier than ones made of synthetic materials, but they are the most comfortable. They are also warmer – a nice asset in chilly nights in the Amazon. The best quality cloth hammocks are made in Brazil, but all types can be bought in Peru.


FOOD

Food in the Amazon is full of exotic delicacies. Chonta or palm tree heart salad is a delicious entrée. Meats and plantains are ever present in the main dishes, like grilled banana plantains (tacacho) with deep-fried beef (cecina) served with chopped onions and dried meat, or stuffed bananas, a banana dough stuffed with beef and peanuts.

Fowl, fish and wild meat are indispensable ingredients in preparing “juanes” (rice dough stuffed with chicken and wrapped in banana leaves for cooking), grilled “picuro” (delicious wild meat), “apishado” or pork cooked in a peanut and corn sauce, and “patarashca” fish wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over a fire.

Soups include “inchicapi” chicken soup with peanuts, coriander and manioc and “carachama” fish soup cooked also with banana plantain and coriander.

Aguajina is a refreshing drink made from the “aguaje” a jungle fruit, while “masato” is a fermented manioc and sugar beer. “Chuchuhuasi” is a fermented beer made from the chuchuhuasi root, “uvachado” is prepared with grapes and “chapo” is a cooked banana, water and milk beverage.

Source: Peru Mucho Gusto.


LOGISTICS

When thinking of getting around in Amazonia, river transport probably comes to mind. Being home to the longest river in the world, with countless tributaries, it is certainly true that a myriad of boats – ranging from dugout canoes to narrow peke-peke speedboats to luxury cruise ships.

There’s no better way of exploring the Amazon River than by actually being on it, looking out at the dense rainforest. You’ll see river dolphins if you’re lucky, and you’ll pass by some amazing floating villages.

And yet, when stepping out of the airport in Iquitos, you will be struck by the sight – and sound – of another form of transport: the moto-taxi, which will generally outnumber cars by at least five to one. The most common is the converted motorcycle with the bench seat in the rear. It also has a rack behind the seat for luggage, cargo … and occasionally further humans.

During the workshop, transfers to and from locations will be done by means of the river. Daily outings will, typically, be in motorised or paddle canoes or by foot in the rainforest. Nonetheless, a ride in the back of a moto-taxi through Amazonian scenery, be it urban or rural, is an exhilarating and authentic slice of Peruvian life.