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YANAK UYWAÑA: The Mutual Nurturing of the Arts

Woven textile. Collection of Elvira Espejo Ayca. Photograph: Elvira Espejo Ayca
Reflecting on work she has done with communities who produce textiles in Oruro department of the Bolivian Andes, Elvira Espejo Ayca explores Aymara and Quechua conceptions of art as a mutual nurturing between human and non-human entities, as it’s encapsulated in the concept of yanak uywaña. In opposition to Western Enlightenment theories which lie at the basis of contemporary (art) education, yanak uywaña does not separate reason from sensitivity, nor humanity from nature. Espejo Ayca calls for a reversal of the big rupture introduced by Western colonialism and a return to indigenous notions of mutual nurturing.