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.

Congratulations To Our Spring 2023 Whitten Scholarship Awardees!


SP23 Student Curators

Each semester the exceptional work and research that student curators undertake with the Kawsay Ukhunchay: Andean & Amazonian Indigenous Art & Cultural Artifacts Research Collection is recognized through the awarding of the Whitten Andean & Amazonian Studies Scholarship.

Student curators in the exhibit

This semester’s awardees, who work under the guidance of Faculty Curator and Professor Michelle Wibbelsman, are (left to right):

  • Victor Vimos (PhD Student in Latin American Cultural & Literary Studies)
  • Shima Karimi (PhD Student in Latin American Cultural & Literary Studies)
  • Anais Fernandez (Majors: Political Science and Spanish)
  • Cameron Logar (Major: Biochemistry)
  • Tamryn McDermott (PhD Student in Arts Admin., Education, & Policy)

Learn more about these dedicated kawsay waqaychaqkuna (those who safeguard, keep and preserve with cariño and care) here.

Wibbelsman and the curators engage in a unique combination of research, teaching, and outreach. Much of their work in Spring 2023 was centered on the Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions exhibition in the Barnett Center Collaboratory, which has just come to a close after a full academic year as a campus hub for interdisciplinary academic and outreach programming.

In addition to activities directly connected to the Dancing with Devils exhibition, each curator has actively pursued individual projects that relate to the Collection.

As Tamryn McDermott prepares for her final year of dissertation work, her development of an AirTable database for the Collection has informed her research in Art Education in significant ways:

I consistently find myself integrating ideas from my experiences with the Collection. […] It is exciting to me to have had time over the past two years to explore and work with the collection in ways that are now informing decisions about my own dissertation project.

Tamryn has also worked with Wibbelsman this semester to develop exchange partnerships with Denison University. She looks forward to seeing how curators and educational programming designers at Denison will display and contextualize objects from the Collection in new ways.

Anais Fernandez’s projects this semester have included transcribing an interview about quipus, presenting at a pedagogical conference alongside Wibbelsman, and preparing the resulting paper for publication. Her work with the Collection has been a natural complement to her Peruvian heritage and love of Peruvian dance and festival clothing:

I have a strong and deep connection and interest in Latin American cultures, specifically Andean and Amazonian. […] I’ve found a space and support within my university to continue researching the topics I want to explore.

Cameron Logar has been busy researching the diablada festival in which the devil masks are used. This research has required him to consider in depth the responsibility of learning about the history, meaning, cultural context, and representation of Collection objects. This work has been personally rewarding for Cameron:

I am thankful that I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy this wonderful opportunity. I can truly say that it has changed my life for the better, giving me new direction, new goals, and a new passion.

Cameron was also one of only five undergraduate students selected for the GAHDT Society of Fellows Undergraduate Apprentices on this year’s theme of “Archival Imaginations” for his project “The Details in the Devils: Plural Meanings in Diablada Performance and Archival Presentation”.

Shima Karimi has conducted comparative research that explores the role of Indigenous women in the mythology and cultural narratives of Iran and the Andes. She seeks to challenge the exclusion of Indigenous women from mainstream historical and cultural narratives by highlighting their contributions to the cultural heritage of their communities. This work has helped her to better understand the intersection of gender, culture, and mythology and enhanced her scholarly abilities:

Working with the Collection has allowed me to develop my research skills and deepen my understanding of the complexities of indigenous cultures and communities.

Victor Vimos, who describes the Collection as “a space for learning and individual and collective growth,” has also grown as a scholar through the writing of his master’s thesis on an Andean poet and Quechua and Aymara worldviews:

Since I started my work [with the Collection], my relationship with Andean concepts has been broader and I have been able to carry out research in dialogue with them.

Please join us in congratulating our spring 2023 student curators and thanking them for their many contributions to Andean and Amazonian studies at OSU!

The Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art and Cultural Artifacts Research Collection is housed in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in Hagerty Hall 255 and supported by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Center for Latin American Studies (in part through Title VI funding from the US Department of Education), and generous private donations from Dr. Norman Whitten. To learn more about the collection please visit the AAAC website and the K’acha Willaykuna main website.

See more: https://clas.osu.edu/news/congratulations-our-spring-2023-whitten-scholarship-awardees

Documenting our masks


Tamryn McDermott, our Graduate Research Associate, is documenting some of the masks in our collection this morning! Check out the set-up and dramatic results. These images will be added to our database to continue work towards making our collection more accessible online.

Diablada masks coming soon to the Lakewood Public Library

Be on the lookout for our photos in an exhibit at the Lakewood Public Library!

Diablada de Píllaro Exhibit: Photographer Leonardo Carrizo showcases photographs of the Diablada de Píllaro, a six day festival in the Ecuadorain province of Tungurahua. This exhibit documents the procession of a traditional partida (group) from the Tunguipamba community. The Diablada consist of several masked characters, most noticeable the diablos, wearing masks made of paper mache, animal horns, animal fangs and an assortment of decorations.

(photo by Leonardo Carrizo)

(photo by Leonardo Carrizo)

Student Curators receive Whitten Scholarship

Thanks to a generous donation from Dr. Norman Whitten, our Student Curators, Brandon, D’Souza, Elaine Louden, Jenna Mayeres, and Frances Dillon have received the 2019 Whitten Scholarship for their dedicated work with the Collection. This semester, their work has focused on preparing the Collection for display in brand new display cabinets, as well as writing description cards for specific items within the cases.

Congrats, to our wonderful Curators!

Collection welcomes new display cabinets

Over Winter Break, the AAAC has been hard at work purchasing and installing new display cabinets for the Collection in Hagerty Hall, Room 255.

They look wonderful and make a great addition to the Collection! Pictured here is the new case for the Canelos Quichua Ceramic Collection.