On the way to Gualaceo, we visited the House of the Makana, where I met with a young poncho maker and his father, a seasoned master. Just as we entered the house it had started to lightly rain, the house had many openings in its roof, and so the rain entered the home with us. The son explained to us how ponchos are made, and he also demonstrated the long artisinal process that goes into creating them. There were spinning stations, and also dying stations, where it was explained to us that it takes many months to extract the natural colors used to adorn ponchos. Above us at all times, along the wooden supports, and door hedges, were these tiny ceramic figures, human and animal. A thought occured to me; my people have been making these little ceramic figures since time immorial, since times before the Incas, since times before the Chimu and the Moche, and yet here I was in the year 2019, able to reach out and touch a living, yet ancient history embodied by these ceramic figures. A poem was displayed prominently in the home where it was written that the family had been designing ponchos for over 7 generations. I witnessed more living history through the master's son, who carefully practiced their traditional craft. The light rain faded sometime in between these moments and lessons. The master showed us his collection of ceramic pots and pans, some of which he claimed were over 800 years old, my uncle said to me aside "he must think we are fools" however I believed the master. I believed that we South Americans have kitchen supplies which are older than the Hispanic influence in our lands. I believe the little ceramic figures we make represent a legacy that connects us to our most ancient ancestors. We are an ancient people, and the hispanic identity which seems so permanent to us at this moment, never disconnected us from our art; from our living history and connection with our ancestors.
Written by @IndigenousPride