Kaypi Perú Festival Celebrates Peruvian Culture

Six-Day Celebration Features Traditional Music, Dance and Cuisine
July 22, 2014
News Release
Kaypi Peru logo

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Embassy of Peru and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru present Kaypi Perú, a festival highlighting the South American nation’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and traditional arts, Tuesday, July 29, through Sunday, Aug. 3. Kaypi Perú, which means “This is Peru” in the indigenous language of Quechua, includes an art market, music and dance performances, hands-on activities for kids, films and photo exhibitions of the magnificent Andes. The festival is free and open to the public.

Art Market and Information Booths

An art market will be open daily in the Potomac Atrium from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will feature 19 artisans from various regions of Peru who will be selling an array of items, including handmade silver jewelry, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, masks, colorful scarves and shawls, figurines, embroidered fabrics, items made from alpaca wool, wood sculptures and more.

Visitors can learn about how the Amazon Conservation Association works to conserve the biological diversity of the Amazon basin. For the past 10 years, ARKive.org has led the virtual conservation effort by gathering the best films and photographs of the world’s threatened species into one free centralized digital library. The Mountain Institute is a non-profit organization focused on the conservation of mountain environments, the preservation of mountain cultures and sustainable economic development of mountain communities. The National Geographic Museum will be speaking to visitors about their current exhibition, “Peruvian Gold: Ancient Treasures Unearthed.”

Music and Dance Performances

Throughout the festival, there will be various performances of traditional dances from different Peruvian regions and cultural origins by local Peruvian dance groups, including Garbo y Salero, Raices y Expresiones and Mamauca. There will also be performances of Marinera Norteña from Peruvian champions. After the performances, there will be a dance workshop for the entire family. Musical groups ADU, Etnia and Yuyarinaypac will play instrumental folkloric music throughout the day.

Traditional Food and Drink

The Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe will feature a collaborative menu of Peruvian delicacies available for purchase in the South America section of the cafe and prepared by the Embassy of Peru’s chef, Jorge Gomez and the museum’s executive chef, Richard Hetzler.

Visitors can join experts, including master distiller Johnny Schuler from Pisco Portón, for the Pisco Experience in the Mitsitam Espresso Bar area at 3, 3:45 and 4:30 p.m. daily for a 30-minute tutorial on the 500-year history and traditions of Pisco, the national spirit of Peru. Visitors can learn how to make a Pisco sour and sample the delicious drink. Seating is limited and first-come, first-served.

Hands-On Activities

At 10 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m., a workshop for kids in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center will demonstrate how ceramics are made; kids can connect to the past through pottery and learn why it is significant to cultures by creating a Peruvian pinch pot with staff from National Geographic.

At 10 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m., staff from ARKive will read a story about the life of Peruvian kids in front of the Amazonian stilt house. Children will then move to a drawing station and, using colored pencils, draw what they learned from the story.

Visitors will take part in a workshop with two Peruvian artists, Virgilio Ore and Antonieta Merida, at 11a.m and 2 p.m. Participants will learn about Andean and Peruvian culture and then work with clay to make their own art piece to take home.

Free tickets are required for all the activities and are available at the imagiNATIONS Activity Center. All activities are recommended for ages 4 and up.   

Lectures and Discussions

The Mountain Institute will host a series of presentations by Jorge Recharte, director of its Andean Programs, and Andrew Taber, the Institute’s executive director, focusing on the importance of the Andes mountain range from an environmental, economic, social and cultural point of view.

The Amazon Conservation Association will present several lectures by key staff, including Enrique Ortiz, ecologist and ACA co-founder and board vice president, who will discuss the cultural and biological diversity of southeastern Perú, the threats facing the region and ways ACA, local communities and others are working together to protect the Andes–Amazon. Hannah Stutzman, director of programs, will focus on the diversity of ACA’s programs, which work across landscapes and indigenous communities to support livelihoods, improve quality of life and restore forests. Gabby Salazar is an award-winning photographer whose work is featured in “From the Andes to the Amazon: Conservation, Culture, and Diversity.” Salazar’s lecture will share her behind-the-lens stories and experiences shooting the photos in this exhibit and why she felt drawn to work in Peru and with ACA.

Film Screenings

Visitors can view a film, Llamanaani: Por la Ruta de la Cantuta (Peru, 31 min.), and be immersed in the landscape of the country and learn about cultural elements of Andean culture, including cave art, customs and traditions, as well as archeological monuments and beautiful landscapes, including the cantuta flower, emblem of the Inka Empire and the national flower of Peru. Roberto Aldave, the film’s director, will introduce and discuss the film in the Rooms 4018/4019 at 12:30 p.m. July 29 and 30 and at 1:30 p.m. July 31 and Aug. 1.

There will be free daily screenings at 4 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theater of a documentary film by the BBC. Giant Otters of the Amazon (2013, 60 min.), in the jungles of Peru, the world’s biggest otters must fight caiman to save their cubs.

Photo Exhibitions

Throughout the Potomac Atrium and ground-level hallways, The Mountain Institute will transport visitors into the high altitude world of Peru’s Andes Mountains. The photography exhibit will feature images of the Andes and the culture of the people inhabiting this unique and remarkable landscape. The photos will explore the topics of environmental conservation, climate change, mountain agriculture, eco-tourism and sustainable economic development. Featured photographers will include Daniel Byers, Florencia Zapata and David Johnson.

The ACA will exhibit 30 photographs taken by Gabby Salazar along ACA’s Manu-Tambopata Conservation Corridor in southeastern Peru. These photos reveal the intimate connection of Peruvian life to the natural world. Each is an image that captures the livelihoods ACA supports, the landscapes and wildlife it helps protect, the varied ecological threats it monitors and many of its local partners in conservation. 

The festival is presented with the Embassy of Peru and a partnership with the ACA, ARKive, The Mountain Institute, Grupo Corzo, Pisco Portón and the National Geographic Museum.

For more details about the festival and a full schedule of all programs, visit www.AmericanIndian.si.edu. Join the festival on social media by posting images and using the hashtag #KaypiPeru.

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Eileen Maxwell

(202) 633-6615