Peru: Indigenous Youth Arts, Project Update
Posted on: Tuesday, March 24, 2009
For the fifth consecutive year, MADRE and our sister organization CHIRAPAQ facilitated a stone carving workshop for Indigenous Quechua and Ashaninkas youth in rural and urban communities in Ayacucho, Peru. The goal of the project is to give Indigenous children the opportunity to develop their artistic potential while also strengthening their cultural identity through art.
Beginning January 7, 18 young people attended classes six days a week for four weeks. Participants received instruction on how to draw designs, handle tools, choose the right stones for their projects, and implement their artistic visions. Sculpting activities were supervised by long-time instructor Nora Valdez and four youth facilitators who participated in the program in previous years. The group also went on two field trips to explore Indigenous culture and build bridges between participants. On the first trip, participants visited the community of Quinua, Wari ruins, and the Valley of Muyurina, and on the second they went to the Cultural Center of the University of San Cristóbal in Huamanga.
Over the course of the workshop, participants created 36 sculptures—19 individual works (using only one stone), and 17 Totem poles consisting of three stones on top of each other. At the close of the project, these works were displayed at a public showing attended by nearly 100 people. At the event, two young women were chosen to travel to Vermont to further their stone carving skills.
A new component of the project this year was a public art initiative in which young people worked to beautify a park with their sculptures. Local officials hired four previous workshop participants, ages 14 to 22, to renovate the José Abelardo Quiñones Park in Ayacucho. Youths worked on several large sculptures celebrating Wari culture from February 5 to March 6, and presented the finished sculptures to the public on March 7.
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