It was just a few months ago that we sent our holiday greeting to you, expressing gratitude for your support this past year. We were rejoicing that after a three-year COVID-forced hiatus, the ATA board had been able to visit the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) and many of the weaving communities. Tourism was rebounding in Peru and the CTTC was poised to welcome all.
Fast-forward four months and life in Peru has once again been altered due to political volatility. Tourism has come to a screeching halt. Inflation has at least tripled. And our dear weaving friends, who rely upon tourist and the support of the CTTC, are once again thrust into an unknown future. Of course, it’s way beyond just these issues—the Indigenous people of Peru have not had their concerns addressed in a very long time.
While Machu Picchu’s closure (and reopening) makes the news, we are concerned about the hardships faced by the CTTC and the weaving communities they support. Since there is no tourism, the CTTC has had to lay off staff and has drastically reduced the quantity of textiles they can purchase from the weavers. Plus, due to road closures, the CTTC was not able to visit all of the ten weaving communities in January, the time of year that is important for sharing information, providing training and development, and planning the year ahead. We remain committed to helping them through this period.
On a positive note, we recently learned that there have been agreements made between authorities, social groups, and the local tourism industry to guarantee the security of Machu Picchu and transport services. Hopefully this will open the door to other negotiations. Tourism should begin to return but that will depend on many political decisions and their outcomes.
Meanwhile, ATA is working on some new fundraising programs, which will be announced soon. On April 1, Nilda Callañaupa, founder and director of the CTTC, will be presenting a special one-hour textile-focused program followed by a CTTC online private shopping session for the first sixty ATA supporters who register for the program. Stay tuned for information on other events as well.
Can we count on you for continued support of both the weavers, their communities, and ATA’s ongoing efforts of support? Our online donation link is https://andeantextilearts.org/donate/.
If you want to stay abreast of news from Peru, you can read more online at Al-Jazeera, La Republica, and the Christian Science Monitor.
Marilyn Murphy is President of ATA and managing partner of ClothRoads.com, an online marketplace and blog devoted to global textiles. An ATA board member since 2013, she co-curated the exhibition, “Weaving Lives: Transforming Textile Traditions in the Peruvian Highlands,” at Colorado State University’s Avenir Museum. Previously Marilyn was president and editorial director for Interweave media. She also owned the Weaving Workshop in Chicago and founded the Textile Arts Centre there.