Colombia

Reflecting on the Festival Experience

My Experience as a Colombia Program Presenter

by Jimena Perry

Jimena Perry

Dora Flor Alba, junco and enea basket weaver and Jimena Perry, presenter and interpreter.

I have to admit that the Smithsonian Festival left me deeply touched and amazed. Early in the last century, the producers of human exhibits were not trying to showcase cultural diversity, but rather to demonstrate that the West was best and that it was desirable that all the world’s cultures become like the West at some point. Today, these displays or exhibits of humans doing what they know in controlled settings reflect the curiosity we feel towards others and evoke our amazement of their ways of thinking and being. They also alert us to the need of preserving and continuing with our cultural traditions. Colombia: The Nature of Culture was an unbelievable display of knowledge and pride and an excellent means for teaching others about our own cultural traditions. In this sense, for me, being part of the presenters team was a huge challenge because transmitting that knowledge, in another language, was not easy. Nevertheless, that exchange strengthens the customs and makes them, as culture, something dynamic that is always under construction. It was a wonderful experience!

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Jimena Perry is an anthropologist, who was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She holds a master’s degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, UK. Today she lives in South Bend, Indiana, where she runs a business, Su Libro, which offers a range of editorial and research services.