Arte y Esperanza


The perspective of a French anthropologist of Arte & Esperanza

The perspective of a French anthropologist of Arte & Esperanza


At first glance, the people of Jujuy may seem dry. The red earth rises with the wind; the majestic cactus that dot the hills remain still. But if you look further, this land is fertile of life.

These Kolla peoples can trace their history to ancestors who have populated these desert valleys for 10,000 years. A modest agriculture of corn, potatoes, squash, among others and pastoralism of goats and llamas flourishes with the knowledge transmitted through the generations. And with expert hands women weave garments to protect themselves against the cold of the Jujuy nights.

This is not an image of a people trapped in the past. It is the story of a people with their own wealth, their own customs, food, dance, music and traditions. It is also the story of a people forgotten in the world of the great buildings of the capitals, pushed to the limits of the dominant society and, for a long time, subjected to a policy of cultural and economic repression.

What this town does not have are sufficient sources of employment, schools, hospitals or opportunities to participate in the modern economy as it is. The traditional economy of the trade of ceramics, garments and agriculture has been replaced by food pantries and clothing made in distant lands.

But the will to resume a prosperous life continues with strength. Realizing this is multifactorial but the fundamental step is to develop sustainable economic opportunities which value the local culture.