Andrés Ortega Mendoza
Andrés Ortega Mendoza studied Electronics and Mathematics at the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC) (1956–1960) when it was chaired by Dr. Humberto Fernández Morán and Dr. Marcel Roche.
Between 1960 and 1970, he was dedicated to teaching mathematics and to traveling the twenty-three states of Venezuela to undestand its history, geography, and cultural values. In 1967 he made his first trip to the Amazonas state where the purpose of contributing to the dissemination of cultural treasures representing indigenous groups was established.
From 1970–1976, he was Director of the Casa de la Cultura in Maracay in the state of Aragua where he initiated a great cultural exchange –including the dissemination of Amazonian cultures—with European countries.
From 1977 to 1989, he was an Associate Researcher with the Museo de Ciencias Naturales in Caracas where he carried out the following exhibitions: Amazonas (1978), held at the Museo de Ciencias Naturales, the Galería de Arte Nacional, and the Museo de Bellas Artes, and featured the ethnographic collection of the Amazonas of Edgardo González Niño, which subsequently came to form the CPPC’s Orinoco collection in 1988. This exhibibtion was supported by the Amazonas state government and the Consejo Nacional de la Cultura (CONAC). Historia de las investigaciones folklóricas en Venezuela (1983), supported by the Instituto Nacional de Folklore (INAF) and CONAC. The exhibition was shown at the Museo de Ciencias Naturales, the Galería de Arte Nacional, and the Museo de Bellas Artes, and presented pre-Columbian musical instruments from five private collections. Alejandro de Humboldt descubridor científico del Nuevo Mundo (1984). The exhibition was presented at the Museo de Ciencias Naturales under the auspices of CONAC, and showed the five-year life and journey of this great naturalist through America, including his correspondence with Simón Bolívar Liberator. José María Vargas y otros naturalistas de su tiempo en Venezuela: 1750–1900 (1989), shown at the Museo de Ciencias Naturales under the auspices of CONAC that detailed the research of our nature by a hundred researchers and local and foreign travelers who explored the countury in the midst of the independence wars in Venezuela. This theme was expanded by Ortega in a dense work that awaits publication, and which Dr. Pedro Cunill Grau, PhD—author of the prologue—suggested the title: El descubrimiento de la naturaleza venezolana: 1750–1900.
Betwen 1988 and 2012, Andrés Ortega served as Curator of the Orinoco collection at the CPPC, and was later granted the title Curator Emeritus on occassion of his 24 years of service to this ethnographic heritage. In addition, Ortega has carried out the publication and prologues for the following works under the auspices of the Fundación Cultural Orinoco del Banco Orinoco: A través de la América Ecuatorial: viaje por Venezuela (1992) by the great Czech naturalist Enrique Stanko Vraz (First Spanish imprint); Dos naturalistas británicos en la Amazonia venezolana: Alfred Russel Wallce, Richard Spruce (1994); and Vida y Naturaleza en los trópicos. Viaje por Venezuela (1996), original text by the American botanists Henry Morris Myers and Philip van Ness Myers (First Spanish imprint).
In 1997, Ortega was in charge of the entry of seventeen articles on naturalists who visited Venezuela for the Diccionario de la Historia de Venezuela, published by Fundación Polar, and in 1998, he organized the exhibition Orinoco—Uyapari con motivo del centenario de la obra “El Sobervio Orinoco” de Julio Verne in the exhibition hall of the Biblioteca Nacional.
Since 1954, he has been a member of the Sociedad Venezolana de Ciencias Naturales.