:: Aca Hitcha ~ New Earth ::

Seeds    Sewa    Track    Saminchaq    Hitcha    Ceremony    Light

:: 2018 :: 90cm x 30cm :: Acrylics, Inks, Markers and Coca Mambe on Canvas ::

If Ayuzule ~ Mebeakún ~ Seeds of the Coca Mother evokes the inner visionary occurrences during my time in the Colombia Eco-Lodge retreat, then this artwork expresses the outer happenings: dances, ceremonies and stories we told. The Yumake Eco-Lodge is here re-imagined as a place of transformation, with five malocas suggesting the five houses of the Mayan Underworld (which admittedly isn't Colombian, but was an image that was with me for some days during the retreat), and the Rio Don Diego flowing past us and through the forest.

Aca Hitcha

The central maloca was the house of ceremonies: this was where the art exhibition was held, and where we communed with each other by day and night, for dances, singing, explorations of each others' artworks, and ceremonies for coca, tobacco, cacao and the Word of Life, among others. One ceremony took us from the maloca to the river, where we engaged in an emotional spiritual cleansing culminating with a swim in the fast-flower river: as we did this, an eagle flew overhead, and five minutes later, a condor. These apparitions excited many of our group - there is among indigenous people of South America the prophecy of the eagle and the condor, which speaks of native resurgence and gathering - and both of these beautiful birds can be seen in the top left and right of the artwork.

Aca Hitcha 1

The Muisca elders also told a great many stories, particularly in response to my Chiguexica Muisca, which was featured in the art exhibition. Since this artwork narrates the Muisca ancestors returning from the deep waters to re-animate modern life, Dwe Wiby spoke of how the Muisca people rediscovered their culture after having lost it along with their language during the Spanish colonial period, and these stories found their way into this artwork to evoke the indigenous beauty of our retreat as a new/ancient way of being human. Some forty years ago, a Kogi elder and priest called Mama Luca had a vision of the Muisca returning to their indigenous heritage, and he saw them as shining golden icons. However, when he descended from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to visit the modern day Muisca, he was horrified by their appearance, which Dwe Wiby amusingly described as 'scruffy hippies'!

Aca Hitcha 2

Mama Luca was even more shocked to see the Muisca were chewing coca and using the poporo lime-dipper, both extremely sacred items to the Kogi, and after some months of tolerating this, he took all their coca and poporos and set fire to them, burning their sacred places as well, since he couldn't stand to see how badly the Muisca seemed to be treating these holy things. Soon after, Mama Luca got very sick, and he realised it was because he had burned the poporos and the sacred places. He had another vision, and for the first time saw the Muisca people not as he wished them to be, but as they were: gente gente, 'people who love people, people open to new ideas and exchanges'. He vowed to teach them the Kogi sacred ways so they would adapt these into the resurgence of their own Muisca culture. Only after this vow did Mama Luca recover his health.

Aca Hitcha 3

The story of Mama Luca moved seamlessly into Dwe Wiby's hilarious tale of Mapurito, the skunk, called Wai (wa'i is the Kogi word for skunk). In the first days, all the animals lived together in a big communal house, but one family - Mapurito and his wife and children - were always banished because they would make a great stink. All the animals would tell them to leave and kick them out as unwanted trash. One day, however, Mapurito was in no mood to be treated so badly, so he entered the maloca, stood right in the centre, lifted his tail and - pththththhhhbt!!! - farted so loudly and so stinkily that the animals ran away from the house, never to return, and Mapurito the unwanted now had the house to himself and his family!

Aca Hitcha 4

Dwe Wiby related that the moral of this tale was about the resurgance of the Muisca people and culture: just as the Muisca had been unwanted and rejected by the Spanish colonials and reduced to poverty, so the Kogi elder Mama Luca rejected them at first. But these scruffy gente gente are entering their house - modern-day Colombia - and clearing a space for themselves where they can live. I loved this story, for it combined comedy, myth, oral history and prophecy in a seamless whole, and it reminds us that sacred narrative needn't be deadly serious: a loud belly laugh is as good for making a tale memorable as anything else!

coca leaves

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