23.03.2012 - UNESCO

Ethno-historical project concluded in Ecuador with presentation of documentary


The Ecuadorian Kichwa Association of Audio-visual Producers (APAK) concluded an important ethno-historical research project with the public presentation of documentary Mindalae at FLACSO premises (Quito) on 6 March 2012. Supported by UNESCO’s Office in Quito, the project and the resulting documentary allowed a collective reflection on the meaning of handicraft trade for the identity of Kichwa Otavalo people.

Kichwa people are Ecuadorian skilled artisans and producers of textiles that have kept alive the handicraft traditions of the mindalas, an ancient indigenous elite specialized in the art of trade. This art brought Kichwa traders to travel around the world.

The video documentary "Mindalae" focuses on the historical events and trips of the communities of Peguche, Quinchuquí, Agato and La Compañía, from 1910 until our days. An early version of the documentary was screened in the four communities in October 2011. In the documentary Kichwa migrants tell their own story: the history of a people that, over the past forty years, became the protagonist of one of the most important migration flows in Ecuador. Entire families left the country in order to market local crafts in Belgium, Colombia, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Spain, Venezuela and other countries around the world.

In this context, APAK - the only indigenous Kichwa association in Ecuador that produces audio-visual media content - seeks to systematize and promote the cultural traditions of Kichwa people in order to strengthen and revitalise the Kichwa cultural identity using ICTs and audio-visual means. The Association is currently working on the distribution of its productions on a national scale and aims to expand internationally.

UNESCO supported this activity within the context of its Communication and Information programme, particularly its activities aiming at empowering citizens through universal access to knowledge and the preservation of documentary heritage.

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