By weaving connections and relationships through art, culture and photography, Jorge Deustua has been building a bridge between his native Peru and his new home in Australia since 2008.

Jorge Deustua’s is not a bridge built with materials (although he is a qualified engineer) but a bridge woven with the universality of experience and the human condition. With an artist’s eye he has pulled and picked experience through relationships and landscape and reflected it through his photographic exhibitions held in both countries.

A university professor in both Peru and at the Queensland College of Art in South Brisbane, Jorge has had the opportunity to look from both sides of the Pacific Ocean, constantly experiencing both points of view and their similarities. For the past five years, Deustua has led tours of Peru for QCA students from a multitude of creative disciplines, to experience his native country through his eyes.

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But how does the Queensland College of Art come to claim one of Peru’s most distinguished photographers? After being invited to Canberra by the Peruvian ambassador to show works from his acclaimed Searching for a Hero exhibition in 2008, Jorge went on a lecture tour around the country, starting with Canberra and ending at the QCA. It was in Brisbane that he met Marian Drew – fellow acclaimed photographer and QCA lecturer. Together they produced an exhibition called The Rock and the Tree, or La Roca y El Arbol, depending which side of the catalogue you are reading. Showcasing photographs of both iconic Queensland and Peru, they have woven photos taken at night together …  Iconic Queensland trees such as mangroves and pandanus, and dramatic shapes of rock at Girraween National Park are given new life when catalogued amongst photos of ancient rock walls of Andean architecture. It is a curious mix and quite haunting — each scene photographed at night, drawing out the similarities in both. The perspective gives viewers a heightened sense of the maneuverings required to so carefully capture images by torchlight at night.

Jorge’s trips do not take students on a journey down well beaten tourist trails, although the famous Machu Picchu is still very much a part of the experience. The students are given an insight into the different cultures and landscapes that create the country’s overall identity.  Playing soccer against a women’s team high up in the Andes, seeing Lima’s Chinatown and the small ghettos on the outskirts — the students are spared nothing and must keep a visual journal of their trip. For some, the experience is completely moving. Back in Brisbane, they are assessed on a piece of work created from their experience; I am lucky enough to see the finished piece of a videography student and am overwhelmed by the quality of his work and the beauty of what he had captured.

Now Jorge is keen to branch out beyond the university and offer his trips to anyone with a passion for travel and new cultural experiences. To find out more visit www.jorgedeustua.com

Words By Alice Thompson | Images by Jorge Deustua & Andrea Neumann