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Bolivian paintings
"The potato – A treasure of the Andes"
To mark the International Year of the Potato 2008, Bolivian artist Mamani Mamani, the PROINPA Foundation and SDC are launching a joint initiative entitled “The potato – A treasure of the Andes” designed to draw attention to the importance of the potato as a staple food in developing countries. For this purpose, the artist has painted a series of pictures highlighting the cultural, historical and economic significance of this noble tuber and paying tribute to all who preserve and cultivate the potato.

Native potato diversity in the Andes is in decline for various reasons, such as different eating habits, market demand for standardized products, the rural exodus to cities and the impact of climate change on growing conditions. This situation jeopardizes the local population’s nutritional base and the availability of the genetic diversity needed to secure potato stocks worldwide.
Investment is needed for the long-term preservation and use of native potato varieties and now, art is being used to attract attention to this issue. The initiative of the PROINPA Foundation and SDC calls on society to conserve the biodiversity of this Andean treasure as a legacy for future generations.
The PROINPA Foundation is active in Bolivia, championing the preservation and use of genetic resources as a tool for fighting poverty. Though one of the poorest countries in South America, Bolivia is known worldwide for its considerable genetic diversity. The challenge currently facing it is to capitalize on this biodiversity to reduce national poverty levels.

The paintings
The remarkable art exhibition, entitled “The potato – A treasure of the Andes”, comprises 20 unique and highly colourful pictures.
Throughout his career, the artist who painted them has constantly championed the ethical and symbolic values of the people of the Andes. Agriculture forms the basis of their particular way of life, and hence of their close ties to their environment in which planetary and terrestrial phenomena influence the fate of plants, animals and – above all – human beings.
These people and their rituals feature in Mamani’s works depicting the colours of the rainbow, the power of the wind and the dazzling light of the sun that defines the beginning and end of the agricultural cycle. Thanks to the equinox and the constant waxing and waning of the moon, its companion, it proclaims Nature’s fertility and the imminent harvest.
Women with strong, protective hands, surrounded by sacks and baskets full of potatoes, express their love and tireless labour. Some potatoes are sweet and others bitter, like life itself.

The PROINPA Foundation and SDC wish to convey their appreciation to Roberto Mamani Mamani whose willingness and artistry make it possible for us to marvel at one of mankind’s greatest treasures rendered in brilliant colours and brushstrokes.


Photo Gallery of Mamani Mamani paintings
„The potato – A treasure of the Andes“



The artist
Roberto Mamani Mamani was born in Bolivia in 1962. A descendant of the Aymara Indians and a Quechua by birth, he is a self-taught painter who has derived his art from the vision and emotions of his people, and from a vibrant, dynamic earth with unique qualities, full of colours, patterns and passions.
Mamani Mamani’s work has been shown at more than 52 exhibitions since 1983, 44 of them solo events. His paintings have won many national and international awards and can be found in private collections worldwide.

Buy a picture and help to promote food security!
These expressive paintings inspired by the International Year of the Potato are for sale. PROINPA has set up a fund for the picture proceeds which will earn interest. The capital will then be invested in low-risk options that nevertheless yield a return. This revenue will provide sustainable funding for projects and activities intended to preserve and use the diversity of native potato varieties. If fund contributors so wish, they will be sent progress reports on the fund and the projects and activities it supports.

By buying an original Mamani Mamani or a copy, you are investing in the future of native potato biodiversity in the Andes and, above all, supporting the small farmers who the custodians of this genetic diversity.

To purchase a painting (original or copy), contact:

Additional Information and Documents

  • Flyer about the images «The potato a treasure of the Andes»
    (incl. price of the images)
    Download (PDF, 2156 KB) [de]   [en]