Warmi Muyo was created in 2015 by the artists Manaii Kowi and Gabriela Remache, both from the Kichwa people Otavalo, and Tirsa Chindoy, from the Inga people of Colombia. They came together with the objective of strengthening the presence of indigenous women in art. His first project was to present a collective and community exhibition in Peguche.
The show and the parallel events were self-managed and counted on the support of otavaleñas brands such as Zhafra, of women’s clothing. They held an art workshop for children and the results were placed in the exhibition, which also included works by Kowi, Remache and Chindoy. In addition, community practices were also present: there was a pambamesa, where they shared food with the attendees.
Kowi believes that this and other samples that came later would not have been possible had they not been together. Chindoy returned to Colombia after finishing her postgraduate studies in Quito, but the other members are still connected with the Colombian artist. Now there are four women who work and meet every week in spaces such as the Faculty of Arts of the Central University.
Kowi and Remache were joined by Milena Cabrera, of Achuar descent, and Angelica Alomoto, by Quijos, Napo. Kowi is dedicated to painting and illustration; Rivet works in installations and ceramics; Cabrera makes ceramics, sculpture and installation; Alomoto is a ceramist and is also a professor at the Central University of Ecuador.
One of the questions raised is that, from the academy, the pre-Columbian art and native peoples is seen as naive and is minimized. So, the path they chose, according to Alomoto, is based on the agendas of the peoples and nationalities. “We do not want to create a hierarchy about Western knowledge, but to think about the need for knowledge that interpellates those forms of knowledge in our diverse context,” says the teacher.
Remache says that it holds together the importance of making visible the ancestral voice of those who are part of their peoples. “What connects us is talking from our memory, from our experiences, from what implies belonging to a people or nationality,” says Cabrera. The form they have found for explorations and expressions as a collective is linked to doing with their hands, one of the maxims of the indigenous world of the Ecuadorian territory.
Ceramics, weaving, painting, sculpture, among other practices, become tools to construct concepts from the elementary. Now, the collective Warmi Muyo (female seed, in Kichwa) is working on their first joint work, which will be completed by mid-October. It is an installation made with ceramics, in which a ponde represents the concentration of knowledge and four vessels (symbolizing fire, air, earth and water) are the sources of knowledge. (I)