Ernesto Apomayta Chambi
Born and raised in Puno, Peru, Ernesto Apomayta-Chambi was identified as an artistic prodigy at the tender age of five. As a boy, Apomayta was first influenced and inspired by the natural marvels surrounding the humble home he shared with his family. In close proximity to shimmering Lake Titicaca, the striking beauty of the Andes and the awe-inspiring Incan ruins of his ancestors, Apomayta was spiritually compelled to express his wonder visually through his paintbrush. A direct ancestor of the legendary photographer, Martin Chambi, Apomayta derived inspiration from the same native influences and his legacy that encouraged Apomayta to fulfill his own artistic destiny.
At age 17, Apomayta won the opportunity to study at the prestigious Carlos Baca Flor Regional School of Fine Arts in Arequipa, Peru. Under the tutelage of masters of Pre-Columbian art, Apomayta grew both artistically and spiritually. After incorporating knowledge from the most learned painters in the world, Apomayta continued to more fully develop his own personal style by delving into the experiences of his childhood.
Reared in the folkloric capital of Peru, Apomayta recalled the magnetic appeal of the stories he heard as a boy about the people, culture and traditions of China. When he was offered a scholarship to study art among the Chinese masters in Beijing, he said goodbye to his homeland and journeyed to communist China, a place where, at that time, foreign faces were as strange to see as Apomayta’s native language was to be heard. In China, Apomayta learned that the indigenous traditions of his home village of Puno were born from a fusion of Asian and Western cultures—Apomayta realized that the legacy of Asia ran deep in his veins.
To complete the circle of Apomayta’s quest for a model of expression, it was imperative that he set on a path to the Aztecs. He pursued his advanced art studies at the distinguished Autonomous National University of Mexico in Mexico City, after accepting a scholarship to study there. The experience elevated his ability to blend many different cultural influences into his paintings. His admirers say he has done this in a way so complementary to each culture that the compilation is seamless, even in the creation of large-scale frescos he mastered while in Mexico. In a country famous for timeless murals, it is no small achievement that Apomayta has been honored again and again by the Mexican people for his skill as a muralist.
Through the assimilation of other cultures, traditions and lifestyles, Apomayta has developed his own magnificent style that expresses the side-by-side harmony of East meeting West, past meeting present, nature meeting industrialization—a style that has gained him international acclaim. Apomayta expresses the urge of his spirit through watercolors, oils, natural inks, acrylics and charcoal applied to textured paper, rice paper, silk and the walls of structures. He speaks eight languages, holds a doctorate in Pre-Columbian art history and is an internationally recognized authority on Chinese art.