The Chinchero Culture Project

For the past twenty-six years, Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez has been involved in many aspects of weaving, including spinning, weaving, knitting, braiding, and dying. In 1981 Nilda was invited by Cultural Survival to give weaving demonstrations and exhibitions in the United States. Four years later, she returned to lead workshops and give lectures across the country. IN 1990, she was invited by the Latin American Studies Program of Cornell University to participate as an expert weaver for the Summer Institute "The Andean World: A Millennium of Achievements and Transformations, The Institute for Collegue and University Faculty." In 1995, she was invited by the University of Vermont to participate in "Teaching about the Incas: Exploring a Culture Through its Arts." During this trip Nilda worked with the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, The Museum of Textiles in Toronto, the Centre for International Studies at the University College of Cape Breton, and conducted a two-day backstrap workshop at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Sponsored by Cultural Survival and directed by Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, the Chinchero Project was recently created in order to protect and revive the backstrap weaving traditions of the Chinchero and Cusco regions of Peru. Old techniques, designs, and quality, which were once taught to every female child, have fallen into disuse in recent years and subsequently interest in the craft is decreasing. Nilda will start by researching and documenting techniques, styles and functions of traditional weaving, through local oral histories. She will establish a collection of Chinchero textiles to be stored, preserved and displayed within the community. Attached to each weaving will be an analysis of the cultural traditions and the local history that can be derived from each design. By doing this, she hopes to interest a younger generation in Chinchero weaving fundamentals. In an effort to highlight weaving of this region, Cultural Survival is planning a Chinchero Weaving Exhibition, featuring examples of ancient Peruvian Andean weaving and modern Chinchero weaving. Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc.

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