September 27, 2010

The art(s) of Peru

Peru has more than its fair share of beauty, from the mountains to the ocean to Peruvians themselves. Last week the SSTers paid special attention to beauty found in the arts, first with a workshop on joyeria (jewelry) presented by Mike’s host parents, Ricardo Mauriola and Eliana Carrasco. The two artisans create and sell items they make from natural materials found in the selva (jungle). After Ricardo told us about the materials they use, from seeds to rocks to natural dyes, we got to work creating our own bracelets and necklaces (with some help from the professionals).

The following day the group put on their dance shoes—or simply went shoeless—to try some traditional Peruvian dances as demonstrated by Pedro Farias. It was a workout, and gave us a greater appreciation for the skill and dedication and enthusiasm of all who are practice this art form.

We also heard from Eduardo Arroyo, a sociology professor who shared about the country’s various ethnic and cultural groups. While there are 63 distinct nacionalidades (nationalities) within Peru, Arroyo said they can be grouped into three categories—those from the selva, from the highlands, and from Lima itself.  It’s here in Lima where the people, traditions, and culture of all three groups—plus those from Asia, Africa, and around the globe—mix and mingle, sometimes create tension, and often meld into fresh, exciting derivations of everything from food to music to life itself.

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