Image: courtesy the artist, Tropenbos International and José Roca FLORA ars+natura, Bogotá, Colombia
Abel Rodriguez (Mogaje Guihu) is an elder from the Nonuya ethnic group from the Cahuinarí river in the Colombian Amazon. Rodriguez has an extensive ancestral knowledge of the indigenous plants of the region, passed to him by his uncle and shared with western botanists whom he guided through the jungle for Tropenbos, an NGO concerned with tropical rainforests. Now in his 70s, he has resettled on the outskirts of Bogotá having been displaced by the FARC guerrilla occupation and the exploitation of natural resources in the rainforest.
His drawings have been made from memory since he moved from the region over twenty years ago and he now conveys his knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Nonuya region in detailed images that depict the intricately intertwined ecosystem of the rainforest as it shifts through the seasons. Abel Rodriguez’s work has gained international recognition since its presentation at Documenta 14 in 2017.