Building a minga

In our Forum on Community-Engaged Research on September 28th, Leonardo Carrizo, the photojournalist whose images are featured in the Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions, summarized the process of installing the exhibition and engaging with visitors as “building a minga.”

For Carrizo, and the kawsay waqaychaqkuna involved, the intensive month-and-a-half of hanging photographs, unboxing archival materials, printing labels, designing interactive stations, discovering new information, sharing pizza over late night work sessions, and, especially, welcoming visitors into the space embodies the Andean concept of minga, when people within a community come together to help with a project, such as clearing the field after the harvest. Key to the conception of a minga, Carrizo says, is the sense of reciprocity, the understanding that those who are helping you now may call on your support in the future, and the trust in that relationship comes from showing up and contributing your time and your efforts to the tasks at hand. 

Others have noted how this “deep bench” of support is essential in implementing and sustaining successful projects. Building a minga is especially important in projects that seek to build community and scholarship, address knowledge inequities and questions of authority, translate across not just languages but cultures and community-academy divides, all while navigating bureaucracies and attempting to balance expectations with individual capacities. Dancing with Devils remains a work in progress, as it deepens and expands through visitor engagement, and we are grateful to be able to continue cultivating this minga together.

group in front of photographs

Photo by Anna Truax

Engaging with Dancing with Devils

Our kawsay waqaychaqkuna have been busy this semester, installing and then engaging multiple audiences with the Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions. Since the Faculty Preview on September 9, we have welcomed over 160 people from the OSU community and beyond to the exhibition! 

a mother and daughter with mask

Trying on a papier-mache mask

The Faculty Preview invited OSU instructors from across the university to visit the exhibition, talk to featured photojournalist Leonardo Carrizo – who has been an instrumental partner throughout! – and brainstorm curricular connections for their courses this fall. About 50 faculty members attended, along with many of the K’acha Willaykuna co-PIs. We are thrilled that several have followed up with the Barnett Center to book the Collaboratory space and bring their students to the exhibition this semester.

visitors look at the photographs

Photo by Anna Truax

Groups talking in front of photographs

Photo by Anna Truax

On Wednesday, September 21, we held our Exhibition Opening in conjunction with the Wex’s Open House, inviting OSU students and the general public to flow between the two events and experience the many exhibition-based opportunities for learning and engagement at the university. Here we again welcome about 50 people, including a number of students visiting the exhibition to extend their research projects! During this event we screened Carrizo’s short documentary, Diablada Pillareña, which provides greater insight and context into the photographs on view

group with masks

Sharing their masks

visitor adds a postit to the wall

Contributing feedback

We also held a public Open House on Sunday, September 25 specifically geared towards families, which was a huge success! Over 60 visitors of all ages attended, creating papier-maché masks (one young visitor, pictured below, made sure to include four horns after learning that four is the number that the most powerful diablitos have), play-doh miniature masks, and paper diablito figurines designed by master mask-maker Italo Espín. Still others took inspiration from the various masks on view to draw their own mask designs, and kawsay waqaychaqkuna Anais and Victor led the group in an abbreviated diablo dance through the room! 

Diablo dance

Participants dancing a diablada dance

children with masks

Showing off a four-horned diablito mask

In each of these events, visitors shared in knowledge exchanges with the curators and artist in a non-hierarchical dialogue that counters the traditional museum exhibition model in which visitors simply consume the information presented. Instead, visitors to Dancing with Devils were able to contribute their own insights and factual knowledge, sometimes through direct conversation with kawsay waqaychaqkuna and other times through post-it note comments left next to the wall labels! We are grateful to the folks who are helping us further our knowledge and understanding of these mask traditions, and invite people to continue in this exchange throughout the exhibition.

Post its next to label

Visitor contributions to the wall text

Check out this news story highlighting the exhibition as well: 

Acta de Fundación, award-winning poetry book by Victor Vimos

cover of poetry book

Congratulations to Victor Vimos for the publication of his most recent book, Acta de Fundación, which won the Pedro Lastra International Poetry Prize in 2020, awarded by Aula de Poesía of Stony Brook University!

Victor Vimos is one of the Kawsay Ukhunchay Collection’s researchers/curators and a graduate student in the Latin America Cultural and Literary Studies Program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Ohio State. In this book, he proposes a series of intersections between Andean symbols and language as a singular territory of enunciation.

The book, published by Fondo de Animal Editores, a publishing house that specializes in Latin American poetry, is dedicated to the Indigenous leader Lázaro Condo, who was assassinated in the mountains of Ecuador during the struggle for land in the 1970s.

Vimos, who joined our group of kawsay waqaychaqkuna in 2021, is currently pursuing aesthetic and linguistic research on the creative dialogues poets who write in English, Spanish and Quechua maintain with various Andean cultural objects.

Student curator Anais named FLAS Fellow!

Congratulations to Anais Fernandez, who is a current FLAS Fellow and was just featured on the Center for Latin American Studies website!

portrait of Anais

Anais Fernandez is an Academic Year 2022-2023 undergraduate FLAS fellow studying Quechua at OSU.

During the summer with funds from the Center of Ethnic Studies and FLAS, she got to attend and observe Qoyllur Rit’i, Corpus Cristi, and Inti Raymi, three major syncretic festivals found in Cusco, Peru, allowing her to utilize her Quechua language skills with native speakers.

Read more about FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) here.

Installation Process Update!

Installation work on Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions is officially underway! Our kawsay waqaychaqkuna student curators are back on campus and already hard at work with artist Leonardo Carrizo on installing his photograph series in the Barnett Collaboratory.

unboxing photographs

Unwrapping photographs (photo by Leonardo Carrizo)

Alice Tamryn and Leonardo installing

Testing the cable system for hanging the photographs

student curators with masks

Gathering to look at the Diablada masks (photo by Leonardo Carrizo)

curators and Leonardo with photographs

Leonardo with student curators, holding images from the exhibition


Leonardo holdingone of his photographs

Hanging photos for “Dancing with Devils” exhibition at the Barnett Center (photo by Leonardo Carrizo)

hand painting a mask doing touch up

Retouching one of the Diablada masks (photo by Leonardo Carrizo)