As part of our commitment at Awasi Iguazu to support the neighbouring Guarani community, we regularly run arts, crafts and drama workshops for local children. To this day, Guarani culture is steeped in its traditional music and artisan crafts such as weaving and wood carving – many pieces adorn the Awasi Iguazu Main Lodge and Villas.
With this in mind, in November and December 2018 we decided to launch an initiative to support the Guarani community school at Yasy Pora to help provide arts, crafts and drama classes to the 60 children who attend.
The initiative covered several specific themes:
- Guarani Cosmovision: Myths and legends (including the myth telling how the Iguazu Falls were created)
- Culture & Traditions: Ancestors, shamans, local ingredients and food
- Flora and Fauna: Animals, birds and medicinal plants
- The Land of no Evil – nature free from problems, where peace reigns and cultural richness is celebrated
The course proved such a success that we decided to run regular workshops, with the support of local Argentinian artists and drama teachers, to build on this cultural exchange and help the Guarani children to carry on learning and developing their artistic skills. These initiatives form part of the actions of The Awasi Foundation.
In September 2019, we were privileged to host artist and graphic designer Eugenia Soma, who ran a three day workshop at Yasy Pora. The workshop involved sketching, drawing, tracing and colouring, with a focus on local flora and fauna. A particularly popular session involved tracing out leaves that the children had gathered outside, and then colouring them in using felt tip pens.
“The workshop experience really was lovely”, says Eugenia, “I’ve come back very surprised and motivated. The children’s drawings really caught my eye – I’ve never seen children so young draw like that, with such precise strokes, and perfectly drawn animals and plants.”
The children were also encouraged to draw local scenes, with Iguazu Falls inevitably being a popular choice.
“How they paint the falls! Brilliant interpretations!” Eugenia notes. The quality of the art clearly caught Eugenia’s eye – an impressive feat for a professional artist and designer. “I spoke to some of the team and commented on how the children were so small and yet the art they produced was so advanced and mature” she explains.
There are a few theories as to why the Guarani children are so artistically talented, some say it’s because they have a strong cultural grounding in artistic traditions. “I believe that being so free, and perceiving the world in a way that’s so different from what we are used to, is reflected in their drawings” Eugenia muses. “How they understand nature and represent it through art. The Guarani see the world differently, they think in cycles – everything starts when nature blooms.”
Beyond the workshops themselves, Eugenia enjoyed some down time at Awasi Iguazu. “Living in a city sometimes you really disconnect from things and you lose your perspective. I really congratulate you on what you have done at Awasi Iguazu – it’s amazing. And not just the lodge itself and the service, but for how you have thought of everything and really interpreted the space with respect and passion, how it forms part of a context and a natural place within its beautiful setting – that’s what’s most amazing about Awasi Iguazu. I was very happy there”.