Kawsay Ukhunchay’s national traveling exhibit The Hidden Life of Things: Andean and Amazonian Cultural Artifacts and the Stories They Tell at the Wexner Center for the Arts

From Thursday, April 4th to Saturday, April 6th, the Kawsay Ukhunchay Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art and Cultural Artifacts Research Collection had the privilege of displaying The Hidden Life of Things: Andean and Amazonian Cultural Artifacts and the Stories They Tell pop-up banners from our national traveling exhibit at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

The display welcomed the public to the Anonymous Ensemble’s LIontop performance event at the Wexner Center. During the preshow Kawsay Ukhunchay curators greeted the public audience and mingled with the LIontop performers while enjoying traditional Andean food like chuño (freeze dried Andean potatoes), quinoa (amaranth superfood), mote (white corn), plantains, roasted corn, and empanadas before entering the Wexner Center’s Black Box Theater to see the show.

Kawsay Ukhunchay’s pop-up banners’ discussion of cultural artifacts and the stories they tell complemented the performance’s theme of “bridging divides between North and South America, honoring the people of the Andes, their language, culture, history, and future.” The show itself was in three parts. First, it featured a walkthrough of an interactive art installation featuring various displays of Peruvian heirlooms and artifacts. The audience could interact with the installation through individualized audio journeys meant to contextualize the poetry of Irma Alvarez-Ccoscco. 

When the performance began Alvarez-Ccoscco recited her song-poems to the audience in Quechua while English and Spanish translations scrolled across the screen where the Anonymous Ensemble’s signature “live film” aesthetic with multiple camera feeds, projections, a lush soundscape, and live instrumentals supported Alvarez-Ccoscco’s performance. Simultaneously, a live stream of the performance was made available to online audiences throughout the world. Alvarez-Ccoscco’s poetry spanned multiple generations and perspectives of Andean women throughout Quechua history. Following the performance, Alvarez-Ccoscco and the Anonymous Ensemble joined the audience for a conversation about the show.

The Collection was thrilled to help welcome the Anonymous Ensemble for their Ohio Premiere with our traveling exhibit and very grateful to the Wexner Center’s amazing staff for inviting our exhibition. For more information about the traveling exhibit please visit our website. Please reach out to Dr. Michelle Wibbelsman (Wibbelsman.1@osu.edu) with any questions.