Maria Berrio (b. 1982) is a Colombian artist who creates striking paper collages which convey the rich oral traditions, rituals, customs, and beliefs of South America.
Berrio starts each collage by sketching an idea and then layering pieces of paper which she sources from around the world to create the final piece. It is this fusion of colour and cultures which is so integral to the aesthetic and meaning of her work.
Aluna references the creator figure of the Kogi people who live in a remote mountain area in Colombia. The Kogi select their priests, called mamos, from birth and raise them in a cave that is completely secluded from the outside world for the first nine years of their lives. Upon leaving the cave, the mamos can experience the full magnificence of Aluna and understand their own roles as protectors of the earth. Berrio’s collage depicts a female version of a mamo who has just left the cave and is completely overwhelmed by the intense beauty and fragility of the world around her.
‘Latin America’s complicated history has led to the mixing of so many different peoples, and the vast array of traditions, rituals, and food reflects the beauty of humanity coming together. We are not just one thing, we are a prism of culture. My work celebrates this diversity—not explicitly, but with fantasy—in an attempt to create a narrative that is as complicated and elusive as reality.‘ – Maria Berrio