Don Francisco Montes Shuna
Maestro vegetalista

Don Francisco Montes Shuna is a Peruvian maestro vegetalista – a traditional shamanic herbalist that uses the ayahuasca vine, perfume and many other medicinal and sacred plants – as well as a visionary painter, that depicts his intricate ayahuasca visions and the magical world of spirits through works of art that have been internationally recognised.

Coming from the indigenous Amazonian Capanahua ethnic group Don Francisco, beginning at age 6, learned the legacy of his ancestors from his grandmother Trinidad, chosen from among 42 grandchildren to be the one to continue this wisdom tradition. in 1990 he opened the Sachamama Ethnobotanical Garden (now Sachamama Lodge), a healing centre and a school for learning the native indigenous medicine tradition.

Francisco Monte Shuna is a visionary artist and traditional "vegetalista," practicing shamanic herbalism in his native country, Francisco Montes Shuña lives and works in the Peruvian Amazon. Working with his wife, the artist Yolanda Panduro Baneo he has created a refuge for medicinal plants near the town of Iquitos. The two artists are inspired by the rainforest, its plants, myths, spirits and visions and create magical works which engage with nature, ecology and healing.

Widely recognised as a talented and inspirational artist, in 2001 he was commissioned, together with his wife artist Yolanda Panduro Baneo, to create rock face murals at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. Within the award-winning projects lush Humid Tropics Biome, the two artists painted a stunning series of images depicting Peruvian folklore and plant life. In keeping with don Francisco shamanic teachings, the murals depict the spirit lives of the rainforest plants, creating a magical narrative quality that presents a unique spiritual vision of the native Amazonian plants growing all around.

The Eden Project's Art Director, Sue Hill explained why the new exhibit was so important: ´Francisco and Yolanda's work is ideally suited to Eden, dealing as it does with the plant life of the rainforest. Indeed, we are growing many plants that are familiar to them and the magical quality of their painting is proving very appealing to our visitors.