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Angel Callañaupa: Legacy of the Inca

Angel Callañaupa: Legacy of the Inca Exhibit

By Angel Callañaupa | June, 2006

Recently believed to be a generation away from extinction, Peru's 2,000-year-old weaving traditions are significant for their integral role in Incan culture. During the height of this Andean empire, weaving was a highly developed art and intricate textiles were more highly prized than gold. Even today, the colors and styles of woven pieces such as the cape-like mantas serve as indicators of family or village identity. Angel Callañaupa: Legacy of the Inca offers a fascinating glimpse at the Peruvian village of Chinchero, home to a remarkable revival of these ancient textile-making techniques fostered by Callañaupa's sister, Nilda Callañaupa. Concerned about the disappearance of traditional weaving practices among her people, Nilda had fostered among them a renewed interest and pride in quality and craftsmanship. She and her family work with several mountain villages to resurrect symbolic patterns and rediscover the subtle colors of naturally-derived plant and mineral dyes, avoiding garish chemical dyes and synthetic imported yarns. These programs have also helped the villagers to increase their income by creating a larger market for their textiles and a new economy for their communities. A rare exception to the usually female-dominated tradition of Andean weavers, Angel Callañaupa not only creates woven artworks, but painted ones as well. His paintings of Inca life and traditions have received national acclaim. This exhibit also featured nearly 40 of his folk-style paintings and a selection weavings by himself and other craftspeople of the region.