Fernando Montes is an artist who paints images of indigenous people, who believe in the Earth, Life and Nature.  He feels a profound empathy with them. It is not difficult to relate his work to the indigenist movement  (the school inspired by the indigenous cultures of Central and South America) which began in the XX century.  However, to view his work only within this context would be to ignore its wider meaning.  Many of Montes’ admirers, among whom I include myself, sense a hymn of love and life to the Bolivian land emanating from his works, beyond their outward appearance.

The figures, impassive as if they had risen from the earth; the mountains, visible on the horizon; the ruins of fortified citadels of the Inca period ...all these Montes has been painting in solitude.  I also empathise deeply with his spiritual world, independent of cultural or ethnic differences, in which he evokes the passage of time and the activities of the human and natural universe, where everything is born of the Earth and in time returns to the Earth.

I am impressed to find in his works delicate feelings and profound emotions that he perceives in the world about him, as expressed when he saw the Horuji Temple in Nara during his first visit to Japan.  I am moved because I am acknowledged as part of a single Mongoloid race and because his polyptic reminds me of the Shoheiga (a genre of Japanese screen painting on paper).  All this instils in me a profound respect and affection for him.

I want to hear once more, with a pure heart, his song, “Homage to the Earth”, from which flow feelings that we, unaware, have almost lost amid the turmoil of our daily lives.

Jo Ishida,
Professor, K.I.U University, Art Critic
Tokyo 1996
Homage to the earth
Professor Jo Ishida, K.I.U University