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Crisscrossed with paths connecting communities across geography and history, Peru boasts a stunning vertical landscape that integrates a diversity of ecosystems and cultures.
Peru is one of the world’s most biodiverse nations, containing ninety microclimates across extreme variances of altitude. The coastal, rain-forested, and mountainous environments provide abundant resources, including major exports such as fish, copper, and asparagus. Many culturally and historically significant areas are popular tourist destinations that encompass complex layered histories.
The uniqueness of Peru’s diversity lies in the connectedness of its landscape in the form of rivers, roads, and pathways that existed long before the Inka Empire (fifteenth–sixteenth centuries) and Spanish colonization (sixteenth–nineteenth centuries). Across its different altitudes and climates, communities exchange commodities and practices, shaping deeply rooted but constantly changing daily customs and celebrations. The influx and movement of people between and beyond borders also influence and transform these exchanges.
The Peru program featured projects, organizations, and groups whose cultural expressions highlight these social, cultural, and economic exchanges. It demonstrated how the networks of celebration and community, crops and markets, textile and craft production, foodways and technology, and music and dance forge the diverse cultural heritage of the country.
Festival visitors were able to experience these unique connections through cooking and craft demonstrations, music and dance performances, moderated discussions, ritual and celebratory processions, and other participatory activities. In addition, there was a robust involvement with Peruvian American and diaspora communities. The public had the opportunity to learn, to eat, to dance, to shop, to witness these vibrantly connected cultures and create their own connections with Peruvian artists and specialists on the National Mall and beyond.
The Perú: Pachamama program was co-sponsored by the Republic of Peru Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) and presented in partnership with the National Park Service.
“This is just like building a bridge, but it’s different to cross it to see who’s at the other side.” —Julie Freundt, Marinera Viva!!!
Co-curator Olivia Cadaval shares the process of developing the Peru program on the Center’s Talk Story publication.
Cadaval continues sharing the curatorial process with a travelogue from the team’s second fieldwork trip.
The Peru program at the 2015 Folklife Festival takes its name from the Pachamama, translating to “Mother Earth” in the native Quechua and Aymara languages...
If you have visited the Folklife Festival or seen our promotional posters around the area, you have probably noticed the swirling logo for the Perú: Pachamama program...
For two weeks this summer, I had the opportunity to live an extraordinary experience at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival...