Tag Archives: museums

Reinforcing the Cultural Sector in the Public Administration: Integration through Culture

Culture had not been an important axis in the Peruvian public administration, neither in the central government nor in the district halls. In the public administration, culture generally has been part of the touristic or educational sector. Only in 2010, it was created the Ministry of Culture. Previously the National Institute of Culture depended on the Ministry of Education. In this same direction, the current government of Susana Villaran is reinforcing the cultural area of Lima´s Municipality.

Borrea - Peru - Cultura Viva poster


On June 19th, Lima’s City Hall launched its program “Cultura Viva para la Nueva Lima”. In an interview with Victor Vich, consultant of Lima’s Municipality, he explained me the new perspective of the local government and this particular project. Vich points out two main problems. First, Lima’s cultural scenario is fragmented. One district hall does not know what the other does. Second, for long time culture has been reduced to a schedule of activities. Therefore, “Cultura Viva” is a program that looks to reinforce the local production; create cultural networks by promoting the circulation of cultural proposals to other districts; and locate the cultural production and consumption as a citizen right.  For this program, five districts have been selected and local promoters have worked together to discuss the project. The multiple proposals and activities take place for three Sundays in each district with a final big event (see poster at left).

Borrea - Peru - Encuentro Nacional de Cultura


Finally, it is possible that this new place of culture in the city is due to a reinforcement of the cultural managerial sector and the multiple seminars that are taking place to create and improve cultural policies. In this regard, an important event is the next coming “Encuentro Nacional de Cultura.”

Posted by Giuliana Borea – PhD Candidate in Anthropology at NYU

Who owns El Museo de Cacha?

Jorge and Mercedes Duchicela (and me)

I was lucky enough to meet the people who own my site…and it is not the community of Cacha, surprise! Well technically the Federación de Pueblo Cacha de la Nación Puruwa Cacha (FECAIPAC) own the land but the Duchicela Family has a 10 year lease on Pucara Tambo that started in 2007. Jorge Duchicela MD is a doctor who started the non-profit international medical program Cachamsi that offers medical students the opportunity to come to Riobamba and learn medical spanish and work in clinics in the surrounding area, his sister Mercedes also works for Cachamsi. Since 2007 they have put $100,000 into the renovation and updating of the Pucara Tambo site, which includes the museum. They were very pleased that I was interested in the museum and have given me free rein to do and write what I want about the museum and Pucara Tambo and also offered the resources of Cachamsi in Riobamba to me, which is where I am doing this post from right now.

Short side bar/history lesson: The History of the Duchicela Family as told me by Jorge Duchicela. The Duchicela Family has a long history in Cacha and have been the ruling family for centuries. The Inca Huayna Capac expanded his empire north and fought the King of Quito for 20 years or so and when he

Casa Duchicela

finally defeated him he was given a Cacha princess to be his wife (one of many), this princess was a Duchicela and the offspring from this union was Atahualpa who was the last Sapa Inca. He fought his half-brother Huáscar for the title after their father’s death and after his victory, on his way south to Cusco, he met Pizarro and the Spanish and the rest as we say is history. The oldest son of the Duchicela family is considered King of Cacha and he owns the “Casa Duchicela” which is located in the parroquia de Cacha south of Pucara Tambo and is the nicest house I have seen in Cacha. Their older brother was also the man who performed the Chicha Ceremony at the festival and I was told he does this every year.

So, the Duchicela Family obviously has strong ties to Cacha but none of them live here any longer, with most of them having moved to the States to go to college (Mercedes Duchicela actually went to my alma mater Lawrence University!) and now live in Texas.


They wanted to give back to Cacha but they refused to invest so much money in Pucara Tambo without having any control over the site and how it is used, which is why they got the lease from the FECAIPAC. I was told that in 2007 when they took over the site it was very much in disrepair and had all but been abandoned. Pucara Tambo was originally built by the FECAIPAC in the 90’s but with the leadership of the organization turning over every 2 years, the organization lost interest in the site, took away their funding and never completed the original plans for the site.

So how does all of this relate to my research, well what I thought was a community museum run by the FECAIPAC is actually owned by Cachamsi and the Duchicela Family. They fund the site with the profits from Cachamsi and funding they solicit from the Ecuadorian and US governments and have total control over what is presented in the museum and how the objects are interpreted. In the 3 weeks I have been here I haven’t seen a single person in the museum (other than during the festival), which is kept locked unless I ask for it to be unlocked. There could be many reasons for this, one of which is that there is no sign that says Museo, so if you didn’t already know nothing would indicate it is a museum at all. Just today I was actually asked to take a visitor who didn’t speak Spanish through the museum…so I guess I am the english speaking guide here in Pucara Tambo.

More on the museum next week!

Posted by Sarah Szabo — MA Candidate in CLACS/Museum Studies at NYU

Pucara Tambo

Sign on the road to Cacha

I took a taxi up to Cacha the day after the festival on the most beautiful road I have seen so far in Ecuador! It is newly laid and makes the twisting ride up the mountain much more enjoyable than it would be on a dirt road. The billboard to the left is placed along this road and is also new, with a fantastic picture of the Pucara Tambo site, which is where I am staying for the duration of my time in Cacha. I have taken this week to settle in and get to know the people who work at the site. There are two women and two men who are there every day and they cook my meals and answer all my questions.

Cabins in Pucara Tambo

I was pleasantly  surprised by the accommodations, they have five cabins, with two rooms each, that are a mix of single person rooms and rooms with bunk beds and each room has its own shower with hot water… ya! It gets pretty cold at night, but they have wonderful blankets that keep you nice and warm. Pucara Tambo is located up a mountain from Riobamba, so you get a fantastic view of the city and the other mountains surrounding the city, including Chimborazo, which is the tallest one in Ecuador. Continue reading

Uncovering Missing Local Latino Histories in Northern New Mexico

A few days after arriving in New Mexico, I sat down to talk with a local historian and later an archivist at the state’s oldest museum. Both the historian and archivist were pessimistic about the possibility of finding any support for my topic. Determined, I spent days in the archive pouring over historical documents of the museum’s history until I realized for myself that I was looking for a missing history even though I knew it wasn’t there. The overwhelming realization set in: my topic was too broad, too unclear, and I was very lost.

Land Grant Panel at Highlands University, Las Vegas, New Mexico (Huerta in red, Tijerina seated at the left end of table)I decided to take a few days off to reorganize my thoughts in Las Vegas, NM with the comfort of family and familiarity.  In a local restaurant I learned about an upcoming event, an “Academic Panel,” featuring New Mexican and Chicano legends, Reies Lopez Tijerina and Dolores Huerta. I attended the event in hopes of finding inspiration. The event was less academic and more so fanatic.

As I listened to speech after speech about Land Grants, the commodification of water, and the overwhelming loss of land, I noticed a reoccurring concern: the lack of knowledge of these histories among the youth in the state. This thought troubled me as I realized how little even I knew about the history of Land Grants and how the common Hispanic population of the state was affected. How could someone like me, who frequents museums in the state, took courses in New Mexico history in school, and is a member of a proud Hispanic family know so little about such a common and important history? Continue reading

Peruvian Geometric Art: Filling Gaps in Peruvian Art Narratives

Museo de Arte de Lima - Peru

Museo de Arte de Lima

In the last decade, what Mari Carmen Ramirez calls the Frida Kahlo’s Syndrome in the US towards Latin American art is breaking down to give place to other art tendencies and histories about Latin American Art. In this perspective, Exhibitions such as Inverted Utopias (2004) in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and The Geometry of Hope (2007) have intended to relocate Latin American abstraction as an original movement in itself. While Constructive Spirit (2010), has stressed the links that have shaped both Latin American and American abstraction. However, in these exhibitions the participation of Peruvian artists have been very limited or none. Is this because in Peru geometric art was not an important art tendency? Or is it because the lack of a coherent and institutionalized art history had not allowed a visibilization of those works? I think it is the latter. However, in Peru things are changing to a more complete and encompass history of art.

First, in 2010, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Museo de Arte de San Marcos presented its enriched collection of contemporary art. This collection provides an important visual narrative that included different artists – from Lima and other regions- and from different tendencies. This gives referent to start an exhaustive research on the work of many of these artists. Second, the Museo de Arte de Lima has inaugurated this May 18th a compelling exhibition of the geometric artist Jorge Piqueras, called Jorge Piqueras: De la Estructura al Estillado. Una Geometria en Proceso 1952-59. This exhibition shows for the first time diverse material never seen before and opens up the arena for a broader exploration on Peruvian geometric art. With this the Museo de Arte de Lima, also responds to the international interest in Latin American abstract art, showing the Peruvian contribution. As the curators mention “Así, al documentar un periodo crucial en la obra de Piqueras esta muestra esboza también una importante aproximación al breve interludio del arte geométrico en Loma entre 1945 y 1955, sin duda un periodo crucial e injustamente olvidado de la historia plástica peruana del siglo XX”.

Posted by Giuliana Borea – PhD Candidate in Anthropology at NYU

Collecting and Storing the Past: Objects, Photographs, and the Creation of Chile’s Memory and Human Rights Museum

Memory Museum - Chile - CLACS ResearchDuring the last two weeks of my time in Santiago, my research on Chile’s Memory and Human Rights Museum has covered some exciting, new ground. Interviews with key Museum players – specifically those who have participated in the collection of Museum objects and images – have uncovered a new layer of political complexity, while informal meetings with local researchers has introduced me to a still-emerging set of public debates regarding both the functioning of this institution and its political significance in post-dictatorship Chile.

The images and objects that make up the Museum’s collection – including those that are displayed and those that are kept stored in the Museum’s archive – have all been voluntarily donated to the Museum. From the Museum’s perspective, this process of donating personal objects that bear both individual and collective significance as relics of the past is an integral part of the Museum’s ongoing memory work. The act of donating is not only the process through which the Museum collects and stores the past; it is also a process through which individuals can participate in the construction of that past. The donation of objects, therefore, is as much about the immaterial, personal, and emotional processes that accompany the giving and leaving of things as it is about the historical significance of each material object that is placed there. In outlining an institutional objective that includes the collection and storage of material objects and immaterial personal responses, the Museum has opted to serve as a bridge between the past and present and to treat memory as an ongoing social process in the here and now. At the same time, however, it has also established a museological goal – the collection, catalogization, and the storage of intangible emotions – that requires close attention be paid not only to what the Museum exhibits but also the function that it bears as a memory space.

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Making Room for Memory: The Re-Inauguration of Chile’s Memory and Human Rights Museum

Research in Chile - CLACS at NYU

The photograph that appears in this snapshot is by Hector López. “Catedral de Santiago: Homenaje a los Detenidos Desaparecidos.”

I came to Chile this summer to complete ethnographic research on the role that the photographic image plays in present day Chilean memory debates. More specifically, I came to Santiago to observe and document the many way in which Chile’s newly opened Memory and Human Rights Museum employs photographs – be it as a visual support, a didactic tool, or an archival document – to narrate and give voice to the country’s still recent and contentious violent past. The Museum itself aims to create a space, in which the human rights violations falling between the golpe de estado on September 11, 1973 and the return of democracy in 1989, can be carefully documented and displayed so that the national public can learn about a past that is often times forgotten as the country’s history moves forward. The opening of this institution is culturally, politically, and historically important as it marks the creation of the first national museum space dedicated to the dictatorship period. Of similar significance is the fact that the Museum’s initial inauguration happened only days before the right-leaning candidate, Sebastián Piñera won the presidential election. With the left-leaning political alliance, the Concertación, having governed the country since the 1989 democratic transition, the election of Piñera marks the first democratic election of a right-leaning candidate in post-dictatorship Chile. As a result, the election of Piñera has pushed memory debates back into the limelight of national disputes over not only how the past should be remembered, but also regarding how human rights should be protected.

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