Andean Popular Arts

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Course Information
Cultural Studies
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 



This course examines the Andean culture through the study of literature, folklore, media, music, painting, sculpture and crafts popular and traditional of the Andean countries. The students become acquainted with various aspects of the popular cultures of the Andes: the presence of elements of indigenous, African American, and Hispanic; the incessant questions about national and cultural identity, the rituals and festivities, religious images, etc. Our line of approach to the world of Andean folk art will be through theoretical readings, case studies and guided tours that enrich the vision of what is popular in the Andean world.

Attendance policy: 

Attendance is mandatory for all IES classes, including field studies. Any exams, tests, presentations, or other work missed due to student absences can only be rescheduled in cases of documented medical or family emergencies. If a student misses more than three classes in any course, half a letter grade will be deducted from the final grade for every additional absence. Seven absences in any course will result in a failing grade.

Learning outcomes: 

At the end of the course students will:

  • Learn about the different origins of the popular art
  • Understand popular art as an integral part of the development of human knowledge
  • Make connections between art, culture, aesthetics and history
  • Develop knowledge in order to appreciate folk art
  • develop communication skills using a precise vocabulary
  • develop a written work that demonstrates research, development and discovery
  • Create an artistic project
  • Demonstrate tolerance and appreciate diversity
Method of presentation: 

This course uses a combination of methodologies to better reach students. Each topic begins with a presentation of the material by Professor usually accompanied by images or videos of reinforcement on the subject and continues on occasions followed by a research, or with oral presentations done by students. Field trips to see the content of the course in the museums, churches, convents, etc. are an essencial part of the experience. On the other hand, students develop a written work of research and a craft project to emphasize the aspect of analysis as well as the experience, exploration and creation.

Field study: 

Some field trips are held on Saturdays and last approximately 4 hours. Others are held during the week. Destinations include:

  • Museo de la Ciudad
  • Museo del Alabado
  • Iglesia de la Compañia
  • Convento y Museo de San Francisco
  • Capilla del Hombre
  • Folklore Olga Fish
  • Mercado Artesanal
  • Cráter del Quilotoa
  • Tigua
  • Zumbahua
Required work and form of assessment: 

Attendance at all course sessions and field trips is mandatory, and students must read all assigned readings before class in order to participate fully in class discussion. Final grades are based on the following:

  • Participation, discussion, and presentations - 30%
  • Artistic project - 10%
  • Work of art critique (field study) - 20%
  • Written project (Essay) - 20%
  • Final exam - 20%

It is important that students come prepared with the assigned readings for each day; I strongly recommend their collaboration and generation of ideas during class discussions, which will be reflected on their participation grade.

Choose from the following options:

  1. Choose one popular festival of religious origin of any city in the Andes. Describe the fiesta, its origins, processes of transformation that has suffered since then, and its current development and social impact 
  2. Choose one Latin American artist, having received influence of some kind of folk art. Research biography, style, historical context and how it affects people in his art.  Choose a representative work of this artist and analyze in depth finding specific examples of this influence.  

Students will submit an outline before the final project. The final essay should be 6-7 pages, letter times 12, double spaced.

Artistic Project
To be determined during class according to student interest.

Oral Presentation
In every field trip students have to choose one work of art (painting, sculpture, ceramics, music instrument, etc). With this work in mind, the student has to do the following:

  • Description: Name of work, name of author, technique, size, origin, detailed description Analysis: how elements and principles of art are used in work
  • Interpretation: use of the work of art, message, content, symbols, what is understood by the viewer, what is transmitted by the work of art
Week Content Field Study Readings and Assignments
Week 1
  • reading the syllabus, introduction and basic concepts, vocabulary
  • History of Ecuador: ceramics, assignment of presentations of cultures
  El pasado aborigen del Ecuador, Historia del Ecuador
Week 2
  • Pre-Columbian art.
  • Presentation of culture and art in ceramics.

Museo de la Ciudad y Museo del Alabado

Tejidos y Religiosidad en los Andes
Week 3
  • Textile in the Andes.


Sincretismo y Religiosidad
Week 4
  • Conquest and the colony
Museum San Francisco convent and Church of the company  
Week 5
  • Quiteño Baroque. Architecture, carved in wood and furniture
  Essay outline due
Week 6
  • Popular religion and Carnival, ritual festivals, characters.
  Readings on types and customs; Phytogeography and landscape
Week 7
  • Painting in the colonial and Republican periods
  • Painting and sculpture in the 20th century
  Eduardo Kingman, Osvaldo Guayasamín, Camilo Egas y Diógenes Paredes. Discusión Ensayo Pintura  Indigenista   
Week 8
  • Capilla del Hombre
  César Dávila, Cabeza de gallo y Leyendas de Quito
Week 9

  • Oral literature: verses, legends, mythical characters, popular characters oral
  • Tigua, art naif, masks, castles and mad cow disease.  
Field work in the artisan market visit to the folklore of Olga Fish

Essay due 

Presentations on legends written literature.

Week 10


Field work in the artisan market visit to the folklore of Olga Fish  
Week 11
  • Popular music in Andes.
Week 12

  • Andean instruments
  • Alternative music
CAC (Centro de Arte Contemporáneo)  
Week 13
  • Film, Mono con Gallinas
Week 14
  • Presentations
  Artistic Project
Week 15

Final exam