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Palms and the Asháninka People. Research by Joanna Sosnowska in Peru (2008-2011)

The exhibition presents the results of field research conducted among the Asháninka Indians during the years 2008-2011 by Joanna Sosnowska, an ethnobotanist and collaborator of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków.
Which words, actions and gestures may be used in dialogue with nature? How is it possible to get to know a society, whose survival was dependent on such dialogue? The observations of Joanna Sosnowska are focused on the role of palms in the daily life of the indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon in the valley of the River Tambo, as well as the influence that people have on the local palm forestations there. The exhibition gives details on the different types of palms growing in this area, as well as how they are used by the Indians. It is about how people grow into their surroundings, and how the landscape is made home.

On the one hand it is a factual analysis based on material research, on the other comprises an open space to meet with the Asháninka people. Thanks to this approach, the researcher’s account is something more than just a reportage from a journey to a far-flung corner of the globe, but also a juxtaposition of her own view with that of the Asháninka society which in turn creates an interesting ethnobotanical description of this indigenous culture, which plants, takes care of, and processes palms: and it is these activities which are mentioned in tales handed down orally from generation to generation.

The exhibition presents items from the Krakow Ethnographic Museum’s collection, augmented thanks to the collaborative efforts of Joanna Sosnowska, as well as items from the city’s Institute of Botany at the Polish Academy of Sciences. The collection gained by the Ethnographic Museum thanks to Joanna Sosnowska widens our knowledge on Asháninka culture – and builds our collection on this ethnic culture and augment the Museum’s inventory of items from the Amazon Indians. Joanna Sosnowska’s research was funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (grant no. N305 022036) as well as the National Science Centre (grant no. N305 296240)

Where: Esterka House, 46 Krakowska Street

When: 9 August 2013 – 26 January 2014

Vernissage: Thursday, 8 August, 6 pm

Exhibition curators: Joanna Sosnowska, Eleonora Tenerowicz, Katarzyna Piszczkiewicz
  • Program regionalny
  • województwo maloposkie
  • Unia Europejska
The following Project is cofinanced by the European Union under the Małopolska Regional Operational Programme for the years 2007 – 2013