Getting into the Archives: Mark Gordon’s Slide Photos

OSU alum Mark Gordon — the donor of the diablada masks currently on view in Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions — also donated a trove of archival materials connected to his 1987 field research documenting diablada mask traditinos throughout Latin America. Among the archives are an incredible collection of slide photographs, which have proven a challenge to digitize and share. But we are thrilled to announce that we have cracked it, and have started scanning! Below are three images Gordon took. Stay tuned for more images and context!

Slide photo of diablada mask hanging on a wall

Slide photo of maskmaker working on a diablada mask

Slide photo of maskmaker painting a diablada mask

Dancing with Devils Visual Journaling

Drawings and captions

We are blown away by the thoughtfulness and attention to detail in this visual journal excerpt! OSU English student Katie O’Shaughnessy participated in a class visit to Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions this semester in ARTEDUC 2250, Introduction to Art Education, with her instructor Tamryn McDermott, one of our kawsay waqaychaqkuna. Thank you for sharing your work, Katie!

Reflections on Embodying Unlearning with Daniel Bryan from the Pachaysana Institute

This week, we were thrilled to welcome Daniel Bryan from the Pachaysana Institute to OSU’s campus! Thanks to the Center for Latin American Studies, Daniel was able to spend three days on campus, recruiting students to the Pachaysana study abroad program in Ecuador and facilitating two interactive workshops on unlearning, one on puppet-making and one on embodied movement along the lines of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.  

A group of students linking arms

Students participating in the Pachaysana workshop

students making a tree formation with their bodies

Students using their bodies to represent a tree

Kawsay waqaychaqkuna who were able to participate in the embodied unlearning workshop reflected on the experience, sharing how important it was for us to engage in activities that give our bodies practice in doing otherwise. The activities Daniel facilitated invited participants into different kinds of interactions from what might be habitual and taken for granted, providing insight into the ways in which coloniality lives even in our gestures and the ways in which we greet each other (or ignore each other!).  

One of the most impactful activities was a sort of Simon Says game, which functioned not only as an effective ice breaker, bringing laughter and play into the learning experience, but also helped demonstrate how language is an arbitrary system. Daniel would utter commands, but had given us instructions to then do an action that did not match his words: we were to stop when he said “walk,” walk when he said “stop,” clap when he said “jump,” and jump when he said “clap.” The many hesitations, errors, and muttered swear words testified to how difficult it was to break one symbolic system and embrace another. Yet many of us reflected that what was the most profound element was when Daniel asked us to reflect upon the consequences of messing up. He reminded us that he had not imposed any consequences or value judgments on “getting it wrong,” exposing the ways in which we have embodied and self-imposed fears of failure.  

Coming out of the workshop, our question for ourselves, other workshop participants, and Kawsay Ukhunchay is how do we take these lessons into our daily life? How can we amplify and extend the experience so that new patterns of embodiment take hold?  

To read individual student reflections on the experience from students in the Art Education course Visualizing Culture, visit our Testimonials page.  

Presenting at the Curriculum & Pedagogy Conference

Three women posing and smiling

Amanda, Michelle, and Anais after their presentation

When our kawsay waqaychaqkuna saw the call for this year’s annual Curriculum & Pedagogy ConferencePracticing and Cultivating Humanizing Ways of Being in Education in the Pursuit of Social Justice – we knew it would be a perfect opportunity to share our values and pedagogies with a larger audience. The C&P call specified that they “hope to share space and discourse with educators, theorists, artists, students, and activists, as we practice and cultivate ways of being and doing that offer an alternative to white supremacist, normative, and neoliberal stances toward curriculum and pedagogy”; our pedagogies, inspired by Andean and Amazonian epistemologies as embodied in the Kawsay Ukhunchay collection, exemplify alternative ways of being in higher education, and we were thrilled to have our paper accepted and to present at the 2022 conference in State College, PA, at the end of October.  

Michelle, Amanda, and Anais represented the collective together, and strove to trouble the traditional academic conference formats through a dialogic, non-hierarchical presentation format. We even brought some of our collection with us so people could hold the story gourds, see the retablos, touch some weavings as we gathered together and shared our experiences. Our conference paper, titled “Pukllay Pampa: Andean-Inspired Time-Spaces for Learning and Unlearning,” spoke to the ways in which we embrace a pluriversal model of time/space to center relationships with cariño in our work together as curators.  

We are looking forward to adapting the paper for publication – stay tuned! In the meantime, we are sharing our bibliography here: Curriculum and Pedagogy Conf –Pukllay Pampa Presentation.  

Amanda and Anais

Celebrating at dinner after the presentation


Celebrating at dinner after the presentation

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.