What does it mean for you to be Peruvian?
Smells of damp dirt of the Andes and a Pachamanca oven that was just opened; essences of honeysuckle and wild roses; intense colors of dancers costumes and golden mature crops; golden wheat textures and rough rocks; sensations of the highlands, extreme cold in the shade and burning heat under the sun; feelings of nostalgia for childhood, because everything changes and changes very quickly … all comes to me when I think about the question I posed to three women (two Peruvian and foreign). What does it mean for you to be Peruvian?
“When I think of Peru, I think of a tree, with many solid and strong roots, a land full of nutrients and then I feel that we Peruvians are the branches that need to recognize that history, cultivate the memory and engage with the rest, with absolutely all other Peruvians, weaving nets, weaving branches, growing a strong and powerful tree top where there is more life, more conscious life. Being Peruvian for me, goes through this: an origin, a union, a pride, a possible future for all, no more, no less … it’s time. We deserve it.”
Paola Herrera, Communications and yoga instructor
“For me, as Venezuelan I am, I love the sun, arepas, speaking clearly and in a tone that might even sound scandalous, it’s like being born again and learning to walk in new shoes and into another house, with more conservative, more traditional parents, and I like it because I love the changes, I adapt as a crab adapts to its new shell. I see my new house with love and she sees me every day from its flowers and landscapes. I wander to enjoy its corridors and I do it with the eyes of a child in their new home. I learned to observe every nuance of the day with the certainty of getting into every corner and meeting friendly people and willing to make me feel at home. To me, being Peruvian, being in Peru that I know, is to be what you want to be, I always see the glass half full, and here I see a glass full of opportunities and tools to achieve and help others achieve their goals. “
Mirtha Aguilera, Industrial Engineer and dressmaker.
“Being Peruvian is to love my country with three regions: Coast, Highlands and Jungle, it is to love this exquisite richness of cultural diversity, its beautiful landscapes, its multicolored costumes that seduces anyone. It is to love my land when I’m I stepping away again, to breathe its air, enjoy it, to be with your family. To me being Peruvian is more than a blessing because it is to be in the heart of God as I was born in this beautiful country “PERU”.”
Swinda Reyes, dressmaker
I wanted to make this question, because identity has always been a very exciting topic for me for several reasons. As Paola said in a conversation, a question like this can generate mixed feelings, but we will always draw the positive. Peru is going through a very interesting time, and the issue of identity encompasses an increasingly unison concept of inclusion and appreciation of the variety of our culture and opens the mind to infinite possibilities. That happens thanks to the rising situation, and we can see the glass half full. Isn’t Peru just as an emerging flower ready to show all its glory? I am very curious
The issue of Peruvian identity is so important to me, that, I unconsciously made this exercise of ruminating the concept, one of my main occupations. Daily, I sow, I merge, mix, recreate, redesign, based on the visual richness of my country, just as a child exploring her new world with fascination, the wealth of experience that encompasses this space and this group of people who share this what we call identity and Peru. I only want to see what will happen next, the wonders to come, everything beautiful that will happen. And we are all part of that! And we are all building it every day!
While it is true that identity encompasses many aspects, the celebration of the independence of Peru, is the celebration of being born in this beautiful land of the sun (as the song says).
So I think that rather than celebrating Independence only, which is only part of our long history, today we celebrate the identity of my people, of my land. And again I feel how everything changes when I travel to the jungle and celebrate its green, with its coffee which is already so Peruvian, and their freshly picked fruits. And how my memories in the coast are now of infinite sand, naughty seagulls, painted red sunsets on the horizon, olive trees, parks that seem forests, a large city that moves, and I keep drawing and redrawing on the clothes I design … My country, as diverse as colorful and as beautiful as promising …
And because, yes, in order to extend the branches, one must know and set its roots.
Happy 28th beloved Peru!
Ps. Photograph number 4 belongs to 2014 when we shot an editorial for Hola Magazine.