This August 9 Ecuadorian culture is dressed up in two important events: the National Day of Culture and the creation of the House of Ecuadorian Culture (CCE) Benjamín Carrión. Camilo Restrepo, 72, president of the CCE since June 20, 2017, reflects on the situation of the House of Culture, the most representative entity of Ecuadorian culture for 74 years. Restrepo works in the traditional building of the CCE.
How is the House of Culture visualized today?
The House of Culture is in a difficult moment, although it celebrates 74 years of life full of optimism. We have goals such as approaching citizenship, establishing a better intercultural relationship, valuing communities, peoples, ancestral knowledge, practices of indigenous communities, understanding and understanding that in society there are new urban cultural movements that many call them of rupture, but that are part of the culture, that cannot be simply the space of the fine arts as before; now it is the space of life, of recreation, of thought, of action … We believe that Ecuadorian culture must be citizensized.
The Organic Law of Culture, approved on December 30, 2016, pointed out ways. How much has been fulfilled?
The main thing we have done is to give structure to the CCE, institutionalize it. For the first time, it has an organic statute for processes, a management model and we are finalizing a manual of positions that will define the competencies that officials should have in the areas of support of the Casa de la Cultura or the areas that are called value added, like the cinema, the publishing house, the library and the museums. We have a nucleus in each province.
The last one, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, fortunately, already has an infrastructure where it will work comfortably.
How is the National Plan for the Promotion of Books and Reading?
We have told the Ministry (of Culture) that it is responsible, through a project that has the National Book and Reading Plan, that we are willing to support everything.
We have supported culture and reading, in general terms, with publications such as Casa Palabras, a magazine that circulates nationally, Our Thoughts, through Ecuadorian Cultural Notebooks, of national circulation with 10,000 copies.
We have published a contribution to national music, with a work by maestro Mario Godoy that consists of three volumes: The Ecuadorian hall, The hall in America, The hall in Ecuador and also one of scores that we released a few days ago…
Has the Culture Law had a positive effect?
I think not. In terms of the CCE I think not, because there are still powers that the House gives to the Ministry, it was not possible to define with total clarity that the House of Culture has to be an autonomous entity to carry out its activity of according to national interests, according to the thought and the free expression of the creators of music, painting, in any of the artistic manifestations, and not depending on the policies of any government and of any sign, but rather the expression of the national cultural community.
In terms of culture, in general, I think so, because it organized a bit what was completely disorganized.
What are the events that the CCE offers in this August, a month that generally has a broad cultural agenda?
We have basically two: the inauguration of the Sculpture Garden in the green spaces of the CCE and the solemn session, in the National Theater, where two young artists will perform: John Peter and Alexandra Cabanilla.
We will also make a posthumous tribute to Hernán Rodríguez Castelo, through a pictorial exhibition of national and international artists; to the teacher Consuelo Vargas; to two exponents of the sculpture, the architect Milton Barragán Dumet (who works in iron) and Jesús Cobo (who works in marble).
We will also make the exhibition called The power of ayahuasca, with the intervention of four painters from the Amazon.
In addition, we have, for the second time, “The Devils take Quito”, with characters that come from different provinces where the devil is the central figure of a popular demonstration; they will participate in La Mariscal and in the south of Quito.
“We have goals such as approaching citizenship, establishing a better intercultural relationship, valuing communities, peoples, ancestral knowledge, the practices of indigenous communities”Camilo Restrepo, president of the House of Ecuadorian Culture Benjamín Carrión. (I)