13 DECEMBER 2023 – 13 JANUARY 2024
Sara Flores, Untitled
Shao-Maya-Kene-2022 © Courtesy the artist and White Cube

White Cube is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Europe of works by Sara Flores (b.1950, lives and works in Peru), one of the foremost contemporary artists emerging from the Amazonian basin.

Known for her intricate, geometric paintings on textile, Flores is part of the Shipibo-Conibo People, an Indigenous group spread out alongside the Ucayali River. Expanding the traditional form of Kené, a Shipibo term for ‘design’ and whose etymology can be linked with the verb kéenti, which means to love or care for, Flores’ works are characterized by elaborate, hand-drawn traceries that recall labyrinths, neural networks or cybernetic systems. Created using knowledge passed down matriarchally through generations, Kené is part of a deeply entwined belief system. With motifs originating from cosmology and inspired by the anaconda’s patterned skin, the Shipibo learn their designs through taking part in ayahuasca ceremonies involving the consumption of psychoactive plants. It is believed that women see Kené in contemplations, visions or hallucinations, and over time these states materialize into compositions.

This exhibition is a collaboration with the Shipibo-Conibo Center, New York. The Center is an art project in the form of a nonprofit organisation that works alongside Indigenous leadership in the Amazon toward Shipibo self-determination and territorial sovereignty in a sustainable future. Coinciding with the White Cube Paris exhibition, Flores’ works are featured in the group show ‘Vision Chamaniques’, currently on view at Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac in Paris.