Friday, January 17, 2014


Ecuadorians come from many places. Many are of European heritage, namely Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Lebanon is you extend a little further.  And there are many who are of an African heritage as well, about 10% or so.  But the majority of people are of Amerindian descent or some kind of mix of Amerindian and something else.  And all of these backgrounds have their influence on Ecuadorian arts. Regardless of their back ground bright colors are universal.

Quichua peoples in the Sierra region of the country are well known for their paintings on sheepskin canvases.  The people of Tigua were especially known for this.  They were also known for their highly-decorated painted masks and drums.  Their painting styles are characterized by their bright colors and geometric shapes, although commonly painted scenes include the countryside, everyday life, festivals, religious themes. Common landmarks are also notable objects portrayed in art, such as the volcano Cotopaxi, which is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world.  Nowadays, you can find their work all over, and especially in the touristy areas. 

Literature in Ecuador is mainly written in Spanish.  One of the early writers to emerge from colonial Quito is Eugenio Espejo.  People found his works inspiring when it came to the fight for independence from Spain.  Horacio Hidrovo Velásquez from Manabí is another novelist and poet whose works have been made into a few films.

Eugenio Espejo
However, there is one city in central Ecuador, which is the home to three writers: the city of San Juan de Ambato.  It became known as the “City of Three Juanes.”  Juan Montalvo (prominent outspoken liberal, at odds with the government so much, he was exiled several times. He founded several literary and political magazines, and was an enemy of writer Juan León Mera), Juan León Mera (essayist, politician, painter, he was famous for his novel Cumandá and for writing the words to the Ecuadorian National Hymn), and Juan Benigno Vela (received his law degree, was friends with Simón Bolívar and Juan Montalvo.  He was quite active in the political scene, but also wrote for political newspapers, as well as wrote the constitution and several other public law documents.  He died blind and deaf.).

Up next: music and dance

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