SYLVANIA, OH: In a small community nestled in the lush jungles of Peru, a young artist’s journey to Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio, has taken an extraordinary turn, with his sculptures gracing the halls of the Toledo Museum of Art. Jordy Rengifo Poma, a freshman majoring in Art with a minor in Psychology, hails from the small community of Mishquiyacu in Peru and has brought his unique perspective and talent to the university.
Jordy’s incredible artistic journey began when he was just 11 years old and moved to Tarapoto, where he attended high school. His early explorations in sewing and painting ignited a passion for creativity that would eventually lead him to ceramics and sculpture. He became captivated by the idea of representing women and children, a theme that resonated deeply with him. This strong connection to nature and a desire to tell the stories of the women he admired drove him to explore sculpting, ultimately leading to his current exhibition, “Las Curiosas.”
“Las Curiosas,” which is on display at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Robert C. and Susan Savage Community Gallery until January 28, showcases Jordy’s sculptures that depict women in nature. These works of art offer viewers an opportunity to connect with the women portrayed, each with a unique story that reflects their bond with the natural world. The women portrayed in “Las Curiosas” are not just ordinary individuals; they are healers who draw their strength and inspiration from the same natural world that their ancestors relied upon for wisdom and anecdotes.
Jordy’s sculptures tell the stories of women who share a deep connection with nature, and they have a common thread of overcoming abuse, both emotional and physical. The art has not only provided an outlet for Jordy to explore these themes but has also allowed him to grow personally. Through his work, he has learned to appreciate shapes, textures, and nature itself, helping him understand his roots and his identity as a person from a region in Peru that has faced colonization and a complex history.
“I am very happy that people like my work. I didn’t expect any of this to happen,” Jordy shared. He humbly sees himself as a messenger, a storyteller who is giving a voice to the women he portrays. His art allows viewers to connect with these women and their relationship with nature, leaving space for interpretation and introspection.
Balancing his academic commitments and his passion for sculptural art can be a challenge for Jordy, but he finds solace in nature. He often visits Wildwood Metropark and local wildlife preserves, seeking inspiration for his work.
The opportunity to have his sculptures featured at the Toledo Museum of Art is a significant achievement for Jordy, but it’s also a point of pride for Lourdes University. Erin Palmer Szavuly, the Art Department Chair at Lourdes, emphasized the recognition that this exhibit brings to the university and the department. She expressed excitement about Jordy’s commitment to learning and his ability to receive and learn from criticism, calling it a dream for every educator. She hopes that he can maintain the freshness and authenticity of his work while expanding his knowledge.
The Lourdes community has embraced Jordy, creating a sense of belonging that he deeply appreciates. “Sometimes I think I don’t deserve all of this kindness,” Jordy admitted, emphasizing how overwhelmed he feels in the best possible way. He cherishes the sense of community he’s found at Lourdes and is excited about what the future holds.
Jordy Rengifo Poma’s art not only tells the stories of women but also reflects his own journey of self-discovery and healing. As his art continues to evolve and inspire, there’s no doubt that the young artist from Peru is destined for a future filled with creativity and purpose.
Lourdes University, rooted in Catholic and Franciscan traditions, provides a values-centered education that enriches lives and advances academic excellence through the integration of the liberal arts and professional studies. Established in 1958 and accredited by nine national and regional educational organizations, the robust liberal arts education and Franciscan-inspired charism of service learning ensures students receive a holistic education that prepares them for professional and personal success.