29.11.2011 - UNESCO

Recovering oral memory of Mindalae Otavalo, a universal craftsman and trader

Screen short from Mindalae, a video documentary about Kichwa Otavalo people - © APAK

The Kichwa Association of Audiovisual Producers (APAK) from Imbabura (Ecuador), with the support of UNESCO’s Office in Quito, concluded its ethno-historical research process with the making of a documentary about the meaning of the handicraft trade for the identity of Kichwa Otavalo people.

Kichwa people are Ecuadorian skilled artisans and producers of textiles that keep alive the handicraft traditions of the mindalas, 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 2010. 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 people who, 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, the work of 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. The Association is currently working on the distribution of its productions on a national scale and aims to expand internationally.


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