Kawsay Ukhunchay Hosts Workshop for English Department’s Creative Writing Class

On Tuesday, February 20th the Kawsay Ukhunchay Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art and Cultural Artifacts Research Collection hosted a workshop for the Department of English’s Introduction to Poetry Writing course taught by Senior Lecturer, Zoë Brigley Thompson.

The Collection’s Andean and Amazonian artifacts were an entry point for discussions of the versatility of form in capturing and conveying stories, and indigenous storytelling practices that disrupt linear narrative conventions. After the workshop, Brigley Thompson asked her class to write poems based on the artifacts and conversation.

Molas, garments traditionally made by women among indigenous Guna communities located in Panama, on loan from Denison Museum; story gourds carved with spiraling narratives of indigenous Andean everyday practices and symbols; South American storytelling tapestries; and African storycloths on loan from the OSU Historical Costumes and Textiles Collection inspired the poets to consider the interaction of form, space, time, directionality, perspective, movement and transformation when constructing their poems.

One of our Kawsay waqaychaqkuna, Victor Vimos, graduate student in the doctoral program in SPPO at OSU, whose research focuses on the Andean zone and poetics, emphasized the importance of becoming a reader of cultural materials like a reader of a poem.

It was a pleasure to host the class, and the Kawsay Ukhunchay Collection looks forward to integrating some of the student poems into the exhibitions this semester. If you or your class would like to schedule a workshop please contact, Michelle Wibbelsman at wibbelsman.1@osu.edu.

Collaboration with ACCAD

On February 9th the Integrated Tech, ACCAD Creative Projects class visited the Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions in the Barnett Center Collaboratory.

This new semester-long collaboration with Vita Berezina-Blackburn, Jeremy Patterson and their students (ACCAD), Dean Hensley, Immersive designer for OTDI (Office of Technology and Digital Innovation), Amy Spears and Alex Torchia (Digital Union) uses the diablada masks on display to bring humanities questions into dialogue with technology and design as students explore how cultural content might inform digital capture processes, and similarly how digital opportunities invite new perspectives and new forms of inquiry for Latin American traditions.

Michelle, Tamryn and Anais discuss the Dancing with Devils exhibition with visiting ACCAD students and visitors from the OTDI and the Digital Union.


Jeremy Patterson demonstrates how to capture one of the exhibit masks using his iPhone 14 to create a 3D digital object. Photogrammetry processes and technology have evolved with handheld devises and AI that recognizes markers for making sense of the hundreds of photos on its own and compiling them into a digital asset in less than 20 minutes.


More documentation of a Tukuna bark cloth mask from Southeastern Colombia in the Kawsay Ukunchay collection. Rigid surfaces of the diablo masks versus that of soft cloth masks require a slightly different process and pose a different challenge.


Sometimes the renderings don’t turn out as you planned!


ACCAD students will continue to work with the masks this spring as a resource for learning about, exploring and testing digitization processes and rendering digital 3D assets for eventual use in AR and VR.

Visit from OSU Arts Scholars

On the evening of December 1, 2021 we hosted a group of OSU Arts Scholars and engaged in both a tour of the collection and several hands-on activities. Thanks to Roman Suer for working with us to set up this experience for the Arts Scholars!

Arts Scholars and kawsay waqaychaqkuna

Emily Brokamp engages Arts Scholars in a conversation about the community project she led during our Open House

Visitors and kawsay waqaychaqkuna participated in creating small retablo-like sculptures, inspired by two of our retablos in the collection.

Students were also inspired by the Canelos Quichua Ceramics collection and used their own hair to create paintbrushes. They worked to understand the delicate and precise lines that artists such as Marta Vargas paints on ceramic surfaces.

“Large Canelos Quichua mucawa (drinking bowl) fully decorated from top to bottom inside. Made by Marta Vargas, Puyo, during a time in the early 1990s when she was obsessed by anaconda symbolism. The anaconda (amarun) motif of diamonds begins in the very bottom of the drinking bowl and ramifyies up and down, and is flanked by highly asymmetric anaconda designs.” -Dr. Norman Whitten.














At the culmination of the evening, Arts Scholars engaged with our interactive gourd feedback station and left messages for the collection. The format for our feedback station is inspired by many of the story gourds in the collection.

Fine etchings on the tiniest gourds compel attention to detail. In addition to the circular narrative structure of the calabacitas talladas, this aesthetic introduces the phenomenon of miniaturized representations found throughout the Andean region.


Anna Freeman’s Visual Culture course reflects on their visit to our Kawsay Ukhunchay!

The Kawsay Ukhunchay: Andean and Amazonian Collection Open House allowed my students to reflect on their formal and informal educational experiences with Indigenous cultures. The students observed a weaving demonstration, listened to student curators, and engaged with various objects through a tactile learning experience. The collaborative Amaru chalk drawing gave the students the opportunity to fill in the body of the Amaru with their personal designs. The Open House achieved its goal of providing an immersive experience for all who attended, from academic novices to experts in this area of study.

ARTEDU 236701. Visual Culture: Investigating Social Justice & Diversity

Student Feedback:

This tour was significantly more interactive, while the other ones have had some hands-on activity, we rarely get to hold the objects. Most institutions are white gloved institutions. I think being so interactive and having the workshops worked really well. -Yadira Mendez

The display cases in the main area were incredibly unique in how the shapes and lines flowed between them carrying the ideas throughout all the artifacts. I especially enjoyed the mirrors in the bottom of the water case reflecting the sky like wallpaper behind the case making it seem as though the mirrors were small windows on the group looking into the sky above. – Cole Koehler

These gourds were so detailed, and I can’t even imagine the time and effort put into them because they looked amazing. I feel like this tour was more relaxed than an actual museum tour, mainly because we could touch the objects, which made the experience feel more personal. – Katie Beale

This was a very fascinating experience as it differed quite a bit from a typical museum tour. One aspect that differed the most is that the people who were giving the tour were a lot more experienced and seemed a lot more invested and passionate about what they were doing. – Kai Wang