Ati Cachimuel Visiting Andean Artist this Spring

This spring, Ati Cachimuel, Ecuadorian-born Kichwa-Otavalo musician and composer, visited The Ohio State University (April 8-May 24, 2024) for an artist residency with the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) as part of the Performance and Technology Artistic one-year Residency Program under a Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme Centers Collaboration grant with ACCAD and the Center for Latin American Studies. Kawsay Ukhunchay had the opportunity to host Cachimuel and celebrate Andean artistry.

Kawsay Ukhunchay hosted Cachimuel at one of our team meetings where we introduced Ati to the Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art and Cultural Artifacts Collection and our work. Ati participated in our conversations and was impressed by the fluid dynamic between students and faculty that allows for open discussions about cultural humility, Indigenous art and performance, and the type of interactions and relations we foster with Indigenous artists in an academic environment.

Our kawsay waqaychaqkuna (student curators) got to spend time with Ati in other ways, too. Whether showing him around campus, informing work in progress in ACCAD’s Motion Lab, or rehearsing and performing with him through their dual involvement in Kawsay Ukhunchay and the Andean Music Ensemble.

Much of Kawsay Ukhunchay’s involvement with Cachimuel’s residency came through student research in dialogue with Ati’s composition and the art of hosting, connecting him to the vibrant Andean Studies community at Ohio State. Ati arrived in time for the solar eclipse, and we traveled to the zone of totality in Dublin, Ohio for a group viewing of this once in a lifetime cosmic event.

We also visited Serpent Mound, a special site for Ati whose full name is Ati Amaru—the great serpent. And we had the privilege of traveling with him and 15 other participants to the Great Circle Mound in Heath, Ohio, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site in coordination with the Ohio Connection Newark Earthworks project, for Ati’s unplugged performance of Yana: An Andean Journey into Darkness at 5:00 a.m. as the night sky transitioned to light. During the residency, the kawsay waqaychaqkuna along with Quechua students and members of the Andean Music Ensemble also hosted a Peña Andina, a musical evening of music, food and conversation, to celebrate Ati’s residency. At the peña, Ati treated us to an impromptu performance and involved members of the Andean Music Ensemble in playing a few pieces including parts of the “unplugged” performance.

Ati’s residency culminated in an immersive, multimedia performance of Yana: An Andean Journey into Darkness. Ati’s musical composition emerged from his lived experiences and practices, and connected the audience to Andean concepts and aesthetics through a sensory experience involving music, sound, smell, animation and projections. Ati’s piece illustrated the realities of Andean communities living in connection with larger forces and time-spaces.

All of us at Kawsay Ukhunchay thank Ati Cachimuel for his involvement with our Collection during his residency. We are ever so grateful for the opportunity to foster connections between Andean artists both at OSU and abroad. Read more about Ati Cachimuel’s work here.