Festival de artesanías de América 2017
November 3 is Cuenca Independence Day. Ecuadorians love to celebrate, and this 197th anniversary of independence from Spain was a chance for a 4-day holiday weekend. The city puts out a booklet listing scheduled events through the end of November that was 66 pages long, and copies ran out in the first 2 days. There is no way that anyone can attend every event. However there was something for everyone. We have already mentioned the Symphony in the Park, Moscow Circus, and art show reception we went to this weekend.
This was the 15th year that CIDAP has put on a festival of Latin American artisans. This is a curated show, and the quality of the artisans is always quite high, so we enjoy walking the few blocks where the tents line both sides of the Rio Tomebamba.
CIDAP also has a long term display of exquisite Indonesian art, which is worth a visit even after the Independence Day weekend is over.
Masks are always on display at this show, and many are of superb quality. We know some people that have wall collections of masks such as these.
Music is another common element of the show. Some music is from artisans who make the instruments and CDs they wish to sell, while others are street musicians entertaining the audience, hoping for some change to be dropped in their hats. There were also bands that we heard from our apartment window every night during the celebration.
The wood carving artisans always create elaborate items for sale. Some even continue to work in their tents, demonstrating how they create their art (lower-right).
One large plaza at Puente Roto is set aside for artists with their painting and drawings. There are two spray paint artists in Cuenca (upper-left) that were also showing off their work today (upper-middle) -- all done entirely with spray paint cans and newspaper rubbed over the wet paint. There were also artists drawing caricatures.
There are many artisans who make crafts of various types. Plus a few mime's that dress up and look like statues, unmoving until a coin is dropped in their can -- at which time they pop into motion (lower-left and lower-right). The reaction of young children is often more amusing than the mimes themselves, as the kids jump when the "statue moves." ☺
And then there was the food court section, which was much larger than in previous years. An entire block of every kind of international food you can imagine, with a meal running anywhere from $1 to $5. We ended coming back to this section a few times over the weekend, each time to try something different.
There was also a small kid's section. With so many children in Cuenca, I was surprised to see how small this section was, but it was still enjoyable to watch them create their own art or get their faces painted.