Today is July 28, a special date for Peruvians as we celebrate another year of our Independence. What a better occasion to appreciate our craftsmanship. But we cannot value our heritage if we don’t have a knowledge of our tradition and the work behind each artisanal piece and the history of artisan communities.
For this reason, Alexandra, our blog interior designer, visited Ruraq Maki, the most important craftsmanship sale exhibition in the country. It takes place twice a year, in July and December in the building of the Ministry of Culture in Lima. She had the opportunity to talk with Mrs. Soledad Mújica, who is the Director of Intangible Heritage.
How have people been receiving these sale exhibits since Ruraq Maki was first inaugurated?
Ruraq Maki, which is already 13 years stablished in Peru, has been gaining a space thanks to the quality of its exhibitors. Peru is a country rich in culture and one of the artistic traditions that best express our diversity is craftsmanship.
Peruvian craftsmanship has its source in the relationship of human beings with nature. Peru has a diverse geography: Coast, Highlands, and Jungle, that we can find different materials. For example, in the Amazon jungle, they use wood, bird feathers, etc., while the Andes offers other things as vicuña, alpaca. Instead, the northern coast and part of the Amazon offer you cotton.
Ruraq Maki exhibits 150 groups of artisans. This is only a minimum sample of what Peru really is.
I find it interesting to be able to see face-to-face artisans who have created and designed each piece because they can tell you the story of the handmade piece and the tradition related to its elaboration.
The goal is not to miss the ancestral processes that link this art, the knowledge behind weaving, pottery, carving, etc.
It's nice to see that more and more people are interested in Peru. So here in Ruraq Maki, you know what Peru has without traveling to the Amazon or the Andes. Here you have Peru, summarized in 3 floors of the Ministry of Culture.
The Amazonian peoples that are here have been funded by the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry does all this assembly and promotion. The State is fulfilling its role as promoter and everything that artisans sell goes directly to them.
How can we, as Peruvians, help spread our craftsmanship?
Doing what you are doing. Using, appreciating, talking with people, buying our handicrafts.
Promotion is of the utmost importance because you help artisans. We have a virtual store www.ruraqmaki.pe, which already has 15 groups of artisans selling. Fifteen is still little, but we are growing because it is a big effort.
The artisans themselves manage the shipping, we support them with the texts and the payment gateway. For now, we are only shipping throughout America.
Do you have a plan to promote Ruraq Maki at international fairs?
We have made some efforts, but it is not our main objective. For example, when Peru was a special guest at the Book Fair in Bogotá, which is one of the largest fairs in Latin America. There we have led a delegation of 12 artisans. Last year we took a delegation of weavers to Dublin in Ireland and also Amazonian painters. But it is not our goal, our goal is to promote here in Peru.
What do you think of those big design brands that have taken iconography or even entire designs of artisan communities in other countries?
I think the same as I would say of anyone who takes something that does not belong to them, without asking permission. They don't even pay a royalty or ask for permission that is the minimum. It is collective intellectual property; it must be respected as individual intellectual property. We should not allow plagiarism. This not only has a monetary value, but it also has a symbolic value, craftsmanship tells the history of the people, but there is also the memory of the people that is expressed in its iconography. When that is stolen, your history and your memory are being stolen.
If you are visiting Lima, do not miss the opportunity to celebrate National Holidays by visiting Ruraq Maki and knowing more about our craftsmanship and our master craftsmen. Better yet if you take a piece of our folk art with you.
A big hug,
Fiorella and Alexandra