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Spotlight on Peru: Magnificence of Wari Culture to thriving modern business

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent


Cleveland Museum of Art and the Council on World Affairs partnered for an informative event on Peru’s past, present, and future on Nov. 27, 2012. Opening with a walk through of the Wari: Lords of the Andes Exhibition followed by a speech from Peruvian Ambassador to the United States Harold Forsyth, the event highlighted the richness of Peruvian cultural heritage and its dynamic position in global business today, “We are not just a country of a great past, as you have already seen, but also a great possible future,” he said.


Harold Forsyth noted the country is one of the best in Latin America for foreign investors because of its democratic nature where foreigners can invest and develop freely.  He announced a meeting with Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson where he invited Clevelanders to visit Peru and consider the economic opportunities and possibilities between the two.


“Peru is a vibrant modern country with the fastest growing GDP growth,” he said; “the mining and fishery industries are the strongest sectors but Peruvian food is the most surprisingly best kept secret.” He added the country, like any other in the world, is facing challenges such as drug trafficking, “but we are on the right track to address them.”


Forsyth said the country has taken great steps to include the input of indigenous populations in matters involving them and also in preservation of artifacts from the ancient civilizations by introducing laws for protection and expediting sharing of artifacts overseas for scientific study.


Forsyth was amused when questioned about how his experience as Ambassador of China—“We Americans are so intrigued by the Chinese,” he said, adding, the Chinese and Peruvian diplomatic relations extend back 42 years. “The Chinese immigration to Peru began in 1858 and nearly 8 percent of Peruvian population has Chinese ancestry,” he said. 




The Ambassador added the Chinese-American relationship is mutually dependent when it comes to Latin American business relationships. “The Chinese are a different kind of people, not better, not worst. It takes time to understand their way,” said Forsyth; he noted patience is a virtue when working with them, while honesty is the most important diplomatic tool needed for working with the U.S. government. “Never lie! If you lie once they will never believe you.”


The Wari Exhibition is a collection of 150 pieces of ceramics, tapestries and jewelry artifacts that have been assembled together for the first time for showing in North America. “We in Cleveland are the first,” said Diane DeBevec, engagement specialist at the museum. She explained the importance of the largest piece on exhibition, a communal beer vase that features the deities, a distinctive feature of the Wari.


“Their art is about duality,” she said, noting the inverse female figure of the deity on the inside of the vessel. “We assume all civilizations conquered through domination and war, but the Wari’s invited their neighbors to large parties with lavish food and drink,” she said. These alliances allowed them to create monumental structures and advance.

The large gathering rooms are reflected in their architecture which the Cleveland Museum of Art has replicated in the entrance to the exhibition. The most stunning and awe-inspiring pieces in the collection are the textiles which have been preserved by natural climate to maintain their original integrity in color. With unique tie-dye technique creating a quilting technique the Wari were masters who created a complex society long before the Incas.


The exhibition is free and open to the public for viewing until January 6, 2013.


Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12/04/12 18:26:23 -0800.




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