Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu - 2014-11-20

Join Inca specialist Elizabeth (Libby) VanBuskirk of Charlotte to hear about her efforts in documenting the work and lives of Peruvian weavers in high altitude Andean villages. She will talk about the process of publishing her recent book of short stories, “Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folk Tales and Stories of Inca Life” and her relationship with Angel Callañaupa of Chinchero, an Inca painter whose work she was determined to see published with her own. The two collaborated for years as Libby searched for a publisher. The illustrated collection was accepted by the small press Thrums Books in Colorado, an imprint of editor Linda Ligon, a specialist in fine book design. Libby will project samples of Angel’s paintings and read a story from the book: “The Old Man, the Llamas and Machu Picchu.” This story was recently reprinted in full in the Sept./Oct. issue of the magazine for textile enthusiasts, “Piecework.”
The short stories in “Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folk Tales and Stories of Inca Life” all reveal elements of Andean life and symbolic ways that indigenous people still give thanks to elements of the natural world. Individuals wrap and burn “gifts” for Pacha Mama, Mother Earth. In “The Ice Mountain,” centered around a father-son relationship, thousands of villagers perform risk-taking ritual activities on a pilgrimage high on a mountain glacier. Andean people today remain acutely aware of their closeness to the spirit of their Father and Mother Mountains called Apus.  Some people still speak directly to the Apus.
The book should prove evocative reading for adults and for children. Since teachers have for so long requested such a book with an “inside view” of life in Inca Peru, it will hopefully find its way into schools throughout the State.

In “Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folk Tales and Stories of Inca Life” those who have visited Machu Picchu or hope to visit, may also find the stories to be a way of  expanding their own experiences.

Author Elizabeth VanBuskirk has travelled frequently to Peru, co-taught courses on Inca History and Culture for educators at The University of Vermont College of Education, curated the exhibition “Weaving the Patterns of the Land” at the Fleming Museum of Art, UVM, and served as Founding Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco for its first ten years. In her enthusiasm to share here experiences she has given lectures locally and around the country. She arranged for Nilda Callañaupa to talk at an Inca workshop for Vermont teachers at U.V.M.’s Fleming Museum and it was from here in Vermont where Nilda, Elizabeth and David VanBuskirk set out to found the Center in Peru.