Interlude: Art, Archaeology, and Beauty

In the midst of a fascinating political moment, Paraguay is much more than its political process. It could be a matter of coincidence or a moment of confluence that a flurry of artistic production and concern for the creative patrimony of Paraguay arises as the country experiments with hope and determined democratic participation. But the truth is that what has always impressed me about this country is how much making art is part of daily life. There are guitar shops everywhere. The graffiti is deliberate both in its design and message. Music, literature, and poetry skillfully blend Spanish and Guaraní. Ñandutí, the spider's web-like crocheting is a heralded skill.

Last night's re-opening of the Theater "Federico García Lorca" was the first of its kind I've ever seen in Paraguay: street performance of dancers, poets, musicians, installations as the crowd of hundreds was led by a piper into a colonial building to be greeted by acrobatic dancing in hammocks, flamenco, and then a performance entitled "Mundo sin mal"-- an interpretation of edenic origin stories common to indigenous Paraguayan mythology.

A glimpse of the evening, including flamenco:

The Paí Tavytera are an indigenous Guaraní-speaking group in Paraguay who invited a team of archaeologists led by Dr. José Antonio Lasheras to excavate near an outcropping on their territory. The Spanish archaeologists did, under the watchful gaze of the community, and presented their findings at the Centro Cultural de España Juan de Salazar on Wednesday. Unlike "treasure hunters," who Dr. Lasheras excoriated, the team of scientists returned everything they found to Paraguay after taking molds and photographs.

Here are stone tools found in the excavation:

Other images of the evening:

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