The Usko-Ayar art school
Usko-Ayar (Usko in Quechua means ‘spiritual’ and Ayar means ‘prince’) was set up in the summer of 1988 with some financial aid from the Finnish Government when Pablo Amaringo decided to transform his home into a painting school, with the help of anthropologist Luis Eduardo Luna. Here, several dozen young people and children receive instruction on painting, drawing, speaking English and an appreciation of the rich botanical diversity of the jungle.
By observing and depicting nature, people (especially young children) become more aware of its beauty and richness, and they learn to respect it. In addition, the students hope that their paintings will inspire other people to share similar attitudes of appreciation and reverence. Complimenting this, the students are encouraged to develop the spiritual qualities of patience, concentration and a sense of cooperation.
Friends of Usko Ayar was set up by Donal Ruane, with the full cooperation of Pablo Amaringo, in order to raise much needed funds for this remarkable educational project.
Since spending a year in Pucallpa in 2001/2, Donal raised $10,000 for this project, which was used in 2001 to build a school in the mestizo jungle village of Alejandria. This new school provides a much needed education for the children of impoverished mestizo families who live along the river banks and who survive using age old slash-and-burn methods to grow rice and beans supplemented by fish, manioc plantain and maize.