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6 February, 2017

Young artists with an identity of their own

Indigenous children take drawing and painting art classes over the summer.

Foto: Verónica Vargas / CHIRAPAQ

In front of the curve of a road, on a hill in the neighborhood of Guamán Poma de Ayala in Ayacucho, kids crowd at the neighborhood social hall and, with charcoal in their hands, proceed to draw on the walls of this small house.

What would normally horrify many parents is encouraged by the workshop facilitators, a group of young graduates from the Art Faculty of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), who guide these children in their exploration of different drawing and painting techniques.

“We want children to become familiar with the materials and textures, to lose their fears and to awaken their creativity,” explains Intiñan Ontiveros, one of the group young teachers.

Besides art learning, there is another less obvious purpose. Reconnecting these indigenous children with the arts cultivated by their ancestors. Their drawings are inspired by Inca iconography, which represent native camelids, birds and plants.

Since the 1990s, the CHIRAPAQ has promoted these art workshops in neighborhoods beyond the city frontlines. In the midst of the internal conflict in Peru, these workshops were a healing means to cure the mental wounds of the orphaned and displaced children who, by reconnecting with the popular art of their people, found their own voice.

It is these forms of expression of indigenous art that children replicate on paper and then draw on the wall, with admirable concentration. For many even, recess is yet another opportunity to correct and perfect their drawings.

Thirteen year old Miriam, sits her younger sister on her knees and together they take the charcoal. After work is finish she show us her classroom, the materials they use and the work of their classmates. Her effervescent smile is proof of what this class means to her.

At the end of February, Miriam and her friends will showcase their work to their parents and the whole community, and event that they are preparing with anticipation and enthusiasm.

CHIRAPAQ thanks Ford Foundation for its important support and our young volunteers for their valuable time and effort.