Indigenist painting flourished in Peru from the 1920s to the 1940s as part of a broader movement that sought to redefine Peruvian identity in terms of indigenous elements. Although at some points it was entirely focused on the “indigenous” story and the glorious Inca past that was also championed a mestizo identity portrayed as a result of the integration of “native” and “Hispanic” cultures. The main ideologue and unchallenged leader of the Indigenist movement in the visual arts was José Sabogal (1888–1956), whose profound interpretation of the concept of “being rooted” was deeply influenced by regional art movements in Spain (exemplified by Ignacio Zuloaga [1870–1945], among others) and in Argentina (Jorge Bermúdez [1883–1926], to mention just one); Sabogal spent a great deal of time in these countries during his formative years. When he returned to Peru in late 1918, he settled in Cuzco, where he produced about forty oil paintings of people and scenes of the city; these works were subsequently shown in Lima (1919) at an exhibition that is considered the formal beginning of Indigenist painting in Peru. Sabogal’s second solo exhibition at the Casino Español (1921), established his reputation. He joined the faculty at the new Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1920, where he was eventually appointed director (1932–43). There he trained a group of painters who joined the Indigenist movement: Julia Codesido, Alicia Bustamante (1905–1968), Teresa Carvallo (1895–1988), Enrique Camino Brent (1909–1960), and Camilo Blas (1903–1985). In 1922, as a trained painter with an interest in local subjects, Blas enrolled at the ENBA, where he met Sabogal and became one of his closest collaborators. As his student, he was among those who decorated the Salón Ayacucho (designed by the Spanish architect Manuel Piqueras Cotolí, a sculpting instructor at ENBA), in the style known as “Neo-Peruvian.” This iconographic program showed what had been accomplished during the first five years of what saw itself as a Peruvian school of art. For his two assignments, Blas painted contemporary scenes of the mountains in Cajamarca. In late 1924, however, he took a life-changing trip with Sabogal to Cuzco and the altiplano [high plateau]. The results were shown in Lima three years later at a highly acclaimed exhibition. As in his earlier scenes of Cajamarca, Blas did not portray an apparently intact indigenous culture, showing instead the “mestizo customs” of the people living in the mountains south of Cuzco. The exhibition prompted comments about the humor and irony that would become the defining traits of his later work. [There are many articles about this artist in the ICAA digital archive, including the following written by Sabogal: “Arquitectura peruana: la casona arequipeña (1173340); “La cúpula en América” (1125912); “Mariano Florez, artista burilador de "mates" peruanos, murió en Huancayo: José Sabogal su admirador y amigo, le rinde homenaje” (1136695); “Los mates burilados y las estampas del pintor criollo Pancho Fierro” (1173400); “Los 'mates' y el yaraví” (1126008); “La pintura mexicana moderna” (1051636); and “Sala de arte popular peruano en el Museo de la Cultura : selecciones de arte” (1173418)].