Quechua Pom-poms + Tassels Workshop with Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco

Several of us attended an online Quechua Pom-pom + Tassel workshop yesterday organized by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in collaboration with Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco. Indigenous Peruvian weavers Yessica Sallo Auccacusi and Rosa Pumayalli Quispe led us in the process of creating multi-colored tassels and pom-poms.

About the Artisans – Yessica Sallo Auccacusi and Rosa Pumayalli Quispe work with the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco in Peru. The Center works to practice, sustain, and revive ancestral weaving styles, natural dye techniques, and textile designs. The nonprofit organization works with ten weaving communities from the Cusco region: Accha Alta, Acopia, Chahuaytire, Chinchero, Mahuaypampa, Huacatinco, Patabamba, Pitumarca, Santa Cruz de Sallac, and Santo Tomas (Smithsonian Folklife Festival website).

Two full-body portraits of women in traditional Peruvian wool dress: black skirts, woven vests and shawls, red wide-brimmed hats, all adorned with colorful yarn pom-poms and tassels.

Photo courtesy of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco

Below is a peek into our experience with Yessica and Rosa!


Department of Spanish and Portuguese Chair’s office

There is a new display of art and cultural artifacts from the Kawsay Ukhunchay collection in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese interim chair’s office!

Database development is underway

Our Graduate Research Associate, Tamryn McDermott, is developing a comprehensive and searchable database for our Kawsay Ukhunchay research collection. Tamryn has been photographing the objects, assembling information, and cataloging objects, books, music, and instruments. The database is being built using Airtable, one of the database systems used at The Ohio State University.

Below is a snapshot of what the database looks like. Each record can be clicked on to find more information on each object. This system allows us to save multiple images of each object, additional documents relating to the object, and add searchable key words and geographic locations. Our student research is being integrated into the database. Students will also have access to the database as a resource for future work with the collection.


Below are some examples of the photographs:

Congratulations To Our Autumn 2021 Whitten Scholarship Awardees!

Congratulations To Our Autumn 2021 Whitten Scholarship Awardees!

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

This semester’s awardees, who work under the guidance of Faculty Curator Michelle Wibbelsman, are:

  • Cameron Logar (Major: Biochemistry; Minors: Spanish, Andean & Amazonian Studies)
  • Anna Freeman (Ph.D. Student in Arts Admin., Education and Policy)
  • Amanda Tobin Ripley (Ph.D. Student in Arts Admin., Education and Policy)
  • Hallie Fried (Majors: International Studies, Spanish; Minor: Public Policy)
  • Tamryn McDermott (Ph.D. Student in Arts Admin., Education and Policy)
  • Emily Brokamp (MA student in History)
  • Micah Unzueta (Major: Spanish; Minors: Andean & Amazonian Studies, Education, International Studies)

Recent alumna Kelly Tobin (Majors: English, Spanish; not pictured above) has also continued to work with the collection after graduation.

Professor Wibbelsman and the curators engage in a unique combination of research, teaching, and outreach. The team’s hard work and expertise were on full display at the October 5th Tukuypaq Open House, where they demonstrated their training as kawsay waqaychaqkuna by guiding attendees through the collection, offering Quechua language and Andean weaving workshops, and leading interactive community activities. Throughout the event, attendees were encouraged to decolonize their thinking about art and to consider the Indigenous approaches to knowledge that the student curators have been learning and adopting throughout the semester.

Cameron Logar describes the curatorial experience as one that shaped his worldview in important ways:

Through the collection, my eyes have been opened to a wealth of new perspectives towards concepts I once considered definitive. Ideas of time and space, nature and culture, and the spiritual and the material have all been subjects that I have gained new views on. I have had the fortune of discovering fields of study I had never heard of, and yet resonate perfectly with my interests.

Hallie Fried’s experience was also transformative, and her learning is ongoing:

[I have been] collaborating with other curators across varying disciplines to learn about not just Andean art, but South American culture, museum curation, Quechua, and indigenous worldviews […] From this, I was inspired to continue having dialogues with indigenous artists, educators, and activists. I became fascinated with the idea of decolonizing education and teaching through art.

Congratulations once again to our student curators!

The Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art and Cultural Artifacts Collection is permanently 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, and a generous private donation from Dr. Norman Whitten. To learn more about the collection please visit the AAAC website and the K’acha Willaykuna main website.

Visitors are welcome to touch and engage with our textiles!

We have designed a display of two Chumpi, or Faja, made by weaver Dõna Julia in Cuzco, Peru. This display allows visitors to feel some of our textiles outside of the glass case. These Chinchero multicolored belts inspired us to design an interactive station within our collection so that visitors could engage with the detailed designs and attempt to continue some of the patterning on the white board with colored markers in the small hanging shigra on the wall.


Micah Unzueta, one of our kawsay waqaychaqkuna, updates our collection whiteboard regularly with welcome messages in Quechua for visitors to the Hagerty 255 conference room and our Kawsay Ukhunchay collection! Thanks, Micah, for keeping this practice up and offering a warm welcome to visitors. We look forward to learning more of the ways to say Hello and offer a welcome in the Quechua language.

Community Organizing Center visit

Mark Stansbery brought a youth group from the Community Organizing Center in Columbus, Ohio for a tour and workshops on the evening of November 3rd. Visitors participated in workshops making Retablo figures from clay, made brushes out of hair, engaged with the Quechua language, viewed backstrap weaving in progress, and interacted with Indigenous art and cultural artifacts from our Kawsay Ukhunchay. The visit culminated with our feedback gourds!

Our new name, Kawsay Ukhunchay!

Our collection is now the Kawsay Ukhunchay Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Art and Cultural Artifacts Research Collection!

Kawsay in Quechua and Kichwa means life but also culture, experience, vivencias.

Ukhunchay derives from ukhu (uku) which means internal, deep, profound.

Kawsay Ukhunchayinvestigando la cultura profundamente” captures our endeavor of researching Andean and Amazonian culture, experiences, and expression in meaningful and deeply committed ways.

Emily Brokamp, one of our kawsay waqaychaqkuna, designed this beautiful poster below to announce and share our new name with the Ohio State community! Come and visit our newly designed displays soon!