Museos Y Mercados

Alexandra Kohn
September 3, 2014

One of my favorite things about my classes this semester is how hands-on and experiential they are. In ‘Popular Arts of the Andes’ we have five “salidas” (trips outside of the classroom) throughout the semester…this morning both Spanish Grammar classes at IES took a trip to Iñaquito Market…tomorrow each student has to bring in an instrument for ‘Introduction to Music Therapy.’ As much as I enjoy exploring Quito and Ecuador on my own, visiting sites within an academic setting always allows me to take in more than I would if I were on my own or with a group of friends.

Last weekend our Popular Arts of the Andes class visited two museums. At Casa del Alabado we examined various ceramic pieces of indigenous cultures. Many of these cultures placed an importance on the flow of life. The spirals of the ceramic pieces of Jama Coaque represent this; the movement within each piece demonstrates the flow of energy within humans’ bodies and all life, as well as the idea that the lives of ancestors continue through future generations. The red color of the ceramic Valdivian figures represents fertility and life force. In addition to learning about the thoughts and beliefs of indigenous cultures during class lectures, I really enjoyed experiencing and observing the influence of these ideas on their works of art.

This past weekend IES took the whole group to Otavalo, an indigenous town a couple of hours north of Quito. As our trip to Otavalo was only a day trip, we spent a couple of hours in the market before eating lunch and taking a boat ride in Laguna Cuicocha. In the market we found hundreds of vendors; “Hola, a la orden” (“At your service”/”What can I get you?”) is heard over and over as you walk by each stand. It’s amazing to see the variety of items being sold– everything from chess sets and painted wooden boxes to blankets, socks and hats made from Alpaca wool.

This morning we spent time in the Iñaquito Market, which is a short taxi ride from the IES building. We kept in mind specific items to purchase and plates to prepare as we familiarized ourselves with local agricultural products and the market’s environment. Through exploring the market and speaking with each “caserito/a” (a common word to refer to a vendor or a person who buys from a vendor…’casero’ meaning homemade) we each learned about the products we were assigned to purchase. I look forward to Thursday morning, when we will be presenting and sharing our plates with the whole the group.

I am grateful for my small classes at IES and Católica, which makes all this experiential learning possible.

Alexandra Kohn

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Alexandra Kohn and I am a junior at Bryn Mawr College. I am a psychology major with minors in child and family studies and Spanish. Outside of academics, I enjoy making art and spending time outside. I am particularly passionate about traveling and I am very excited to spend this semester in Ecuador!</span></div>

2014 Fall
Home University:
Bryn Mawr College
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