Kawsay Ukhunchay Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art Collection Opens at Denison University Museum this Spring 2024!

On Friday, January 19, Denison Museum held the opening event for three galleries on Andean and Amazonian culture including Ohio State’s Kawsay Ukhunchay Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art Collection!

Our exhibition, and the student research that supports it, complemented Denison University professor Micaela de Vivero’s latest installation, “Mining the Qhapaq Ñan,” and Pamela Cevallos’s “Unarchive the Museum: Archaeological Collections and Replicas from Ecuador” for a rich thematic coherence that showcased Andean and Amazonian art and culture.

Denison University Dance professor Marion Ramirez did a performance that interacted with Micaela de Vivero’s khipus-inspired art to a soundtrack created by sound engineer Matthew Dixon with recordings of chakchas (goats hooves rattles) and a jalinga (ceremonial shoulder belt) from the Kawsay Ukhunchay Collection.

The opening event also included delicious traditional Andean food like plantains, tostones and ceviche as well as student-led musical groups,

drawing a diverse audience of 80-100 people over the course of the evening.

From our decolonial perspective and research efforts, we were excited to see the Collection’s artifacts displayed outside of traditional glass cases. We got to watch as event attendees interacted with the items unobstructed and unmediated by glass. It also felt like the items in our care were part of the event, mingling with the visitors and partaking in this festive occasion! We truly enjoyed answering questions about the collection and communing with Denison University students and faculty! 

Denison University Museum will have the Collection’s artifacts on display until May 10th and our Kawsay Ukhunchay team will hold workshops and events throughout the semester as part of this collaboration with Denison Museum, so please come out to see the exhibition or arrange a class visit. You can find more information about the exhibit and upcoming talks and workshops through Denison University’s website here.

Our collaboration with Denison Museum is part of Kawsay Ukhunchay’s implementation of an external grant (OSEP—Ohio Sustainable Energy Partners) awarded to help grow our Collection through research, broader exposure, and institutional collaboration.

On the other end of this exchange, Denison University Museum has loaned us an exquisite collection of Panamanian molas, elaborate embroidered panels, and nuchukana, carved wooden figures with healing powers.

Keep an eye out for this upcoming display in Hagerty Hall 255 as part of a Storytelling Tapestries theme also in collaboration with OSU’s Historical Costumes and Textiles Collection and Rare Books and Manuscripts Library as we continue to celebrate and contribute to Ohio State’s student research opportunities and excellence!