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June 28, 2013

If you facebook…


ELIZA SQUIBB : Shipibo Textiles: Creating economic viability and cultural visibility through craft.

No matter what your personal politics are concerning the rise of social media, the most popular sites remain admirably free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Although it might be easy to discredit a news feed in which any one of your hundreds of “friends” can write about what a delicious sandwich they just ate, I can’t help but notice the potential for real and useful community building.

When first beginning my research and writing my grant proposal, I was interested (and surprised) to find that while the community I was researching doesn’t own the land they live on, they do have a facebook page. The Cantagallo Community page is updated frequently with announcements of communal activities, national news that relates to them, open invitations to visit the community’s festivals, AND formal introductions and photos of individual artisans and their work.

Here are some example screenshots of how the community uses social media to promote their artists, artisans, and cultural activities:

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 12.40.28 AM
Hello, my name is Harry Pinedo, my name in Shipibo is Inin Metsa Pei, which means scented leaf. I am 24 years old, and I have lived in Lima for 12 years.
I started painting because I was inspired by my uncle Chononmeni, also a Shipibo painter. I have exhibited in several group exhibitions. I am currently preparing a solo show.
Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 12.41.20 AM
“Our artisan mother, Olinda, from the committee “Menni Ainbo” at the Native Art Fair 2013″
“Beautiful embroidery. I will try to go to the fair. What is the schedule?
“We are there approximately from 11am until 9pm! hope to see you there!”
Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 12.40.55 AM
My name is Diana Ancon. I arrived 12 years ago in Cantagallo, my name in Shipibo is Wesna. I have 3 children. When I was 7 my mother taught me the art of hand embroidery with Kenë designs.


As for my partners, el Grupo Interdisciplinario Amazonia, GIA, they have a facebook as well. In fact, facebook chatting has been one of our most useful forms of communications, before and after my arrival in Lima. Although not constrained by a time difference, busy schedules make communication challenging, and chatting in mixed Spanish and English has an immediacy and informality that facilitated our planning and meetings.

Yesterday, during my first trip to Cantagallo with GIA, I fell naturally into the role of group photographer, and discovered something I could do that was of immediate help to the group. Of course, I need plenty of pictures for my own research, but also, my position as someone on the sidelines of the action helped me step into the role of photographer, a role that I usually find very uncomfortable. Later, uploading all the pictures to on online folder that all of GIA can access, it felt good to be able participate right away with something helpful. Today, the pictures I took have already found their way to GIA facebook:

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