Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Harvest: Rituals and Performance

In August, there are a number of festivals throughout Latin America celebrating harvest time and, especially in the Andes, Pachamama. Here is a video showing the central ritual concerning Pachamame, the Challa or Pago, which means "payment", in which the earth is offered food and drink:

Similarly, the Fiesta del Maíz is about giving thanks for the harvest season and asking God to bless it. It is a time when the community gathers to give thanks together. The festival is also held to preserve, promote, and protect the culture of corn. Various dishes made from corn are prepared for the corn festival; even a special drink, called chicha, is made from corn.  

This video clip shows the procession in the El Salvador town Suchitoto, which is famous for its Fiesta del Maíz:

Inspired by these festivals, artists Jesusa Rodriguez and Liliana Felipe have developed a theatrical ritual based on pre-Hispanic, Mesoamerican aesthetics. This image is from their piece El Maíz:

As Alejandra has pointed out to us, the victims of the genocide are most of the times either indigenous people or farmers and peasants living in small towns. Thus, we are striving to incorporate  daily life objects into our design aesthetic that are coming from their own craft industry like pottery, ceramics, textiles, and also the corn industry, as they are also used, for example, in the performances by Ana Correa. The specific quality of a culture being based on remnants is also beautifully shown in this painting by Julian Schnabel, called St. Francis in Ecstacy:

Satirically combining these two lines of thought, the 2011 Colombian film Todos tus muertos (All Your Dead Ones), written and directed by Carlos Moreno, shows how the dead remain amongst the living as the living refuse to take care of them.

submitted by Alejandra
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