C&AL: The Andean cosmovision and the relationship with the ancestors are important elements in indigenous artistic practices. This examination of the past cultivates memory to be enunciated in the present and so occupy spaces in the future. How do you see the artistic practices belonging to the Kichwa ethnicity at present and what is the future projection of the Ñanta Mañachi concept?
YM: The creative practices of Kichwa artists are diverse and heterogeneous, with multiple aesthetic, poetic and political searches and explorations. We could say that they are inscribed within two major thematic lines. On the one hand, there are “ethnic territory and identity”, which visualise and represent the current confrontations between the local and the global; festivals and traditions, cultural knowledges and nature, migration, defence of the territory, and ecological crisis. And on the other hand, there are artistic processes that address “ritual practices and symbologies”, connections and interrelations between different visible and invisible beings: mythical-magical cultural knowledges, ancestral ritual practices, cosmovision and collective memory of the Kichwa peoples.
For Kichwa creators, art has become a space of agency for collective processes of self-management, self-representation and self-definition. One where historical memory is interwoven with experimental and participatory practices. Ñanta Mañachi–Lend me the Path emphasises self-managed collective processes and processes of mutual learning where communal links are created from an ethnic-territorial sense of belonging. It also explores aesthetic and ritual practices of connection with an ecology of beings and knowledges belonging to an integral network of life. And so Ñanta Mañachi projects itself as a pedagogical method in art that promotes reciprocal dialogue and interchange of knowledges and understandings, valuing differences from trust, affectivity and closeness.
Yauri Muenala is an artist and teacher and is currently a cultural activator at Universidad Yachay Tech.
Esteban Pérez is a visual artist interested in historical revisionism and asymmetric power structures. His research findings take the form of sound, video, painting, and installation.
Translation: JK Translate