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Zarwatun's Bridge: A Photography Exhibit of a Non-Hispanic Culture from Colombia

Thursday, October 13, 2011
12:00 AM
Michigan Union Lobby 530 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI

The photographs on display capture a personal and family narrative that offers a glimpse inside the way of life of the Arhuaco (Ika) community of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. The images were taken by Zarwatun Villafañe, a 7-year-old native Arhuaco and by Tatiana Calixto, lecturer in the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures.
The project "Breaking the Hispanic Stereotype: The Arhuaco of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia" aims to disseminate the Arhuaco culture of Colombia as a symbol of a non-Western culture of the Pan-Hispanic World in order to expand students' and fellow faculty members' intercultural competence and knowledge of ancestral cultures of Latin America. Its objective is to break the often-generalized concept of being Hispanic and to add to the Hispanic dialogue some of the sophistication and complexity that the Hispanic World entails. About the Arhuaco community: Isolated from the Andes, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the world's largest and highest coastal massif, and it is the traditional territory of 53,000 (endangered) indigenous people. This area is sacred to the Arhuaco, Kogui, Wiwa, and Kankuamo, descendants of the ancient civilization of the Tayrona. According to their worldview, the mount Cerro Gonawindúa is the Mother of the Universe or Great Mother, and its health controls the health of the entire planet. These peoples are the Elder Brothers, and they are the guardians of the "Heart of the World." Their rituals maintain balance and fertility of life, and their culture is highly devotional of peace and harmony with nature and their surroundings. Sponsored and in collaboration with the CRLT, the International Institute, the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, University Unions Arts & Programs, the Arhuaco community of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and Space 2435 NQ.