Warmi (1945 - )

Chuwas (1995)

Dimensions: variable


Donated by Instituto Vida 1996


In her artist statement, Warmi recalls the impression that earthenware bowls or chuwas made on her as a child in Arequipa: as containers of the best food and the most beautiful flowers. These three chuwas are containers of ideas of Andean culture and society. They are inscribed with the personal pronouns of the three main languages of the Andean highlands: Quechua, Aymara and Spanish, as follows:

Quechua: noqa - I; qan - you; pay - he/she; noqanchis - we (inclusive); noqaqyku - we (exclusive); qankuna - you (plural); paykuna - they

Aymara: naya - I; yuma - you; jupa - he/she; na(ya)naka - we (exclusive); jumanaka - you (plural); jupanaka - they

The Spanish is less easy to read: only the words ella (she), nosotros (we) and ellos (they) are clearly legible.

In many regions of Bolivia and southern Peru Spanish (used on the smallest bowl) is the minority language with Aymara spoken by about 2 million people and Quechua (the largest bowl) by about 5 million. The words and the social relations they imply are embedded into a broader language of visual signs and forms. Warmi makes her chuwas not on a wheel but in the traditional Andean way by coiling and shaping them with her hands.

Valerie Fraser, 2008

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