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topic title -- Sightseeing
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MUSEUM OF INDIGENOUS ART :: bolivia guide
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You are in: Sucre
Sightseeing - Less0than0USightseeing0 - MUSEUM OF INDIGENOUS ART
 
MUSEUM OF INDIGENOUS ART

Calle San Alberto #413 (Casa Capellanica)
Tel. 645 38 41
www.arteindigena.asur.org.bo

 
 

J’alqa and Tarabuco textil
www.arteindigena.asur.org.bo

This is an important element of the “Indigenous Art Revival Programme” set up by the ASUR foundation with two goals: revitalise traditional textiles from two areas close to Sucre: Tarabuco and Jalq'a and contribute to livelihoods in these communities.
1200 workers are divided among 25 self-managed community workshops. Their work is displayed and sold in the shop in the same museum.
Monday to Friday; 8:30 to 12:00 and 14:30 to 18:00
Saturday 9:30 to 12:00 and 14:30 to 18:00
U$2 for foreigners

The Weave of Modernity

Even if you've spent very little time in Bolivia, or South America for that matter, the array of textiles and woven fabrics on offer on the streets and markets cannot have gone unnoticed. No doubt some colours and designs are becoming familiar to your eye and regional associations are being made. Would you know however whether you are looking at an antique pattern, an ancient artefact or a modern creation?

In Sucre, the Museum of Indigenous Art offers a fascinating exhibition to answer questions regarding the weavings of the Jalq'a and Tarabuco communities. The vast and genuinely interesting display includes weavings and ceramics up to 2000 years old but much of the work is an example of the craft's contemporary evolution. The museum is part of the Renaissance of Indigenous Art Program which has been running very successfully for some years now in the two communities. Thirty-one community workshops contribute to the program and there are always a number of the cooperative's members in the museum, where you can see them working on the intricate woven pieces that the program produces.

Your Bs.15 entry fee is reinvested in the program established by ASUR (The Foundation for Anthropological Investigation and Ethnodevelopment). According to the museum, the program was created, “To help with the cultural revival of traditional weaving that has been rapidly disappearing. Today the threat of losing these traditional patterns and techniques has been overcome and this traditional craft is undergoing an extraordinary renaissance. These modern weavings can be considered true works of art.”

There are now nearly 1000 female weavers, 200 male, and 60 ceramic producers organised into numerous workshops in the communities. Taking the number of dependents of each member into consideration there are now almost 7000 people benefiting from the program. The earnings from their produce supplement an otherwise meagre agricultural income for the members.

While the weavings and ceramics come with a price-tag above that asked by street traders, each piece comes with a guarantee of quality, a photograph and details of the producer, and as the museum sees it ‘spiritual enrichment to the customer’ who has taken part in the process of revitalising the cultural creativity of Sucre's indigenous communities. Whether or not you can afford to buy any of the pieces, a visit to the museum is an intriguing and highly recommended experience.

Alison O'Meara

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