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Peru Art Expedition: 2009

"During May 2009, for the United Nations’ Year of the Potato, CIP hosted the UK artist John Dyer in Peru while he visited the Potato Park in Pisac, Puno and Lake Titicaca, to paint the Peruvian potato harvest, life surrounding potatoes in the Andes and the potato festival on Isla de Taquile. The result is a series of delightful images that CIP will be making good use of in the future."

Paul Stapleton Head of Communications, International Potato Center, Peru: 2009

John Dyer high up in the Andes of Peru holding a painting of the potato harvest and alongside local Peruvian potato farmers. 

The third of John’s expeditions to the original locations of staple food crops on which large numbers of the world’s population depend was to Peru, the genetic home of the potato. Appropriately, his visit took place in 2009, which had been designated the Year of the Potato by the United Nations, and was timed to coincide with the high point of the Peruvian year as they celebrate the harvest over two days in May each year. John’s visit took him from the tiny village of Amaru high up in the Andes near Pisac, above Cusco’s Sacred Valley of the Incas, to an island on Lake Titicaca near the Bolivian border – the Isla de Taquile, where the Potato Festival is marked in particularly fine style with processions, music and dancing, and much drinking.

For the first time, he was not accompanied by a fellow English speaker, but CIP (International Potato Center) in Lima made all the arrangements for getting around and finding the best subjects to paint, and placed him with welcoming host families and farmers. The only time when their inability to speak each other’s language nearly had unwelcome consequences was when John admired the guinea pigs running around his host family’s home too enthusiastically and was offered one of the cutest for supper! As he had found on many previous occasions when capturing the way of life of the local people, his paintings provided a brilliant form of communication. As well as writing a commentary on each painting (please see the paintings below and view them to read John's commentary), John also filmed his trip, which is a delightful testimony to the warmth and friendliness of the welcome he received from the Peruvian people.

Article courtesy of Kate Dinn.
Read all about John Dyer's life and work in the book 'Painting the Colours of the World' by Kate Dinn.

Artist John Dyer in Peru - 10 Minute Film