• Indigenous art in Peru

    “La pintura es una herrimienta que los indigenas nos hemos apoderado para fortalecer nuestra identidad. Sumada a la coca y el Tabaco, la pintura es como una actividad magica que nosotros podemos utilizar para resguardar y fortalecer esa parte importantisima que los abuelos han venido defendiendo desde hace muchisimo tiempo”

    • Rember Yahuarcani, artista indigena de la Amazonia

    Translation: Painting is a tool that Indigenous Peoples have embraced to strengthen our identity. Alongside Coca and tobacco, painting is a magical activity that we can use to protect and strengthen the very important things that our ancestors have been defending for such a long time.

    Art is without a doubt an important component to any culture, alongside language, music and traditions. Every society develops art, and the ancient civilizations of Peru were of course no exception. Indigenous peoples of Peru have a rich artistic heritage, with many different art forms arising in the pre-Columbian era.  Modern art critics recognize their resourcefulness, alongside their artistic achievement.

    Unlike today, Indigenous peoples in this era had no easels and oil paints at their disposal. They used the materials they had in their environment to create the artworks, showing their resourcefulness and creativity.

    The Moche civilization are recognized as being artistic innovators, and they are known worldwide for their pottery. The pots are made from clay, and bone tools are used to decorate the ceramic. Moche pottery depicts many things such as animals, activities such as war and sacrifice and important historic individuals. The pots have a decorative purpose but are also ceremonial objects.

    Weaving was, and still is, very important in all ancient Peruvian cultures. Most of Peru’s Indigenous languages, for example Quechua and Aymara, are not written languages. As a result, weaving and textiles became the way in which people would record and communicate important events, and convey stories in the artwork. Different Indigenous communities have their own weaving style and patterns they use, and is an important part of the identity of each community.

    The Mate Burilado is another popular craft developed by the Indigenous peoples of the coast and the Andes. In this art form, pumpkins are dried and then carved into and painted. This practice is 3,500 years old. The Mochica Chimu often paint geometric patterns using fish and birds.

    At Habitat Pro we recognize that the preservation of art and artistic tradition is vital in the preservation of Indigenous culture, and that it is just as important to work to preserve Indigenous art as it is Indigenous languages. That is why we are working to protect and develop Indigenous art in Huanchaco, and working on building a Mochica Chimu cultural center, to preserve these art forms and give young Indigenous people the opportunity to become skilled at crafting them. These art forms are central to the culture of the Mochica Chimu people, and it is a vital way in which we can generate a sense of pride and identity among Indigenous youth.

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