Inner Visions: Sacred Plants, Art and Spirituality

Two of Rick Harlow’s paintings will appear at Brauer Museum of Art, 1700 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso, Indiana, January 9 through April 5, 2015.

In the Brauer Museum of Art exhibition Inner Visions: Sacred Plants, Art and Spirituality, expertly curated by the noted scholar Luis Eduardo Luna, we explore the complex and enigmatic topic of the ritual use of sacred plants to achieve visionary states. Working as a team, Luna, Valparaiso University Associate Professor of Art Robert Sirko, Valparaiso University Professor Richard E. DeMaris, and the Brauer Museum staff present our efforts of examining visual products arising from the ingestion of these sacred plants and brews such as ayahuasca in order to attain heightened states of consciousness and thus commune with spirit worlds that form the basis of various belief systems and religions indigenous to South America.

Harlow-From the Inside Out

Among the many ways Europeans oppressed the indigenous peoples of the Americas in the sixteenth and subsequent centuries, Christian missionaries and priests sought to eliminate their native beliefs and practices and replace them with Christianity. In the case of the Peruvian Amazon and elsewhere, this meant the suppression of shamanic traditions and practices. These and other traditions were vilified as superstitious, perverse, and satanic. Europeans saw their religion as altogether different—as superior, divinely inspired, reasonable, and moral.
What they were unwillingly to acknowledge or perhaps could not even recognize were the striking resemblances between the indigenous religious traditions they attacked and their own piety. Such is the irony of imperialism, that the polarity of conqueror and conquered hid the many things they had in common.
The artwork in this exhibition comes from or takes its inspiration from the Amazon, where shamanism, once pervasive, survived the onslaught of European and, later, Euro-American domination. It has in recent decades come to intrigue and attract Western intellectuals and artists.


Harlow- Falls near Jirajirimo



  1. […] Published February 12, 2015 by Rick Harlow Installation shots of Rick Harlow’s Paintings  on display at the “Inner Visions” exhibition at the Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University. The exhibition runs from January 9 through April 5, 2015 in the Brauer Museum’s main galleries.  It includes works by Pablo Amaringo, Rick Harlow, Donna Torres, Anderson Debernardi, Alex Sastoque, and two Shipibo pots. For more information and directions, go here. […]

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