Peru gears up for centennial celebrations of Machu Picchu; Carlos Fuentes to receive Gabarrón Prize; a new digital Latin American art archive in the works.
Peru is busy with preparations for the centennial celebration of the ‘discovery’ of Machu Picchu by explorer Hiram Bingham. Bingham, led by Melchor Arteaga, reached the site on 24 July 1911.
The focal point of the celebrations will take place this Thursday, 7 July, with a nighttime light show and commemoration led by Mario Vargas Llosa, to be broadcast. No tourists will be able to ascend to the citadel on the evening 7 July, based on the recommendations of UNESCO. The National Tourism Chamber estimates that celebrations will attract the attention of at least 500 million people worldwide.
As a further homage, the Banco Central de Reserva (Central Bank) is releasing a special 10 nuevo soles-bill (worth $2.7) imprinted with an image of Machu Picchu. The bank is also releasing a 20 soles-bill with an image of Chan Chan, a pre-Inca site on the North Coast.
Meanwhile in Lima, writer Christopher Vásquez has started a competition called ‘Lucha Libro’, a pun on the popular wrestling ‘Lucha Libre’. The competition will involve 32 writers in a tournament running from 17 August to 5 October. In each literary fight, two masked writers will face off in public armed only with a laptop, a screen on which their stories in progress will be projected, and five minutes to write an original story that will have to incorporate three elements. The organizers give an example of an iron, a Chinese good luck cat, and a blind man. The winner of each encounter will get to keep his mask and go on to the next round; the loser will have to reveal his face to the public. The winner will be determined by a rotating jury made up of writers, journalists, artists, and musicians. Interested candidates should send in three stories (no less than one page and no more than two) to email@example.com.
Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes won the Premio Internacional Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón de las Letras, announced on Friday in Valladolid, Spain. The Gabarrón prizes, which will be distributed on 7 Octuber, recognize six different sectors: letters, fine arts, performing arts, science and research, sports, and economics.
The awards, first given out in 2002, were set up by the Cristóbal Gabarrón Foundation to honor those who fulfilled the ideas of artist Cristóbal Gabarrón to educate and teach through culture.
The jury, chaired by Mercedes Monmany, recognized Fuentes over about twenty other candidates from Europe, Japan, Morrocco, and Italy. They cited the ‘undeniable value of his literary work, which has raised the Spanish language to the greatest heights of expression, and for the internationally profound effects of his literature; his commitment to culture, freedom, and the defense of human rights’ as exemplified in works such as ‘The Death of Artemio Cruz’ and ‘Burnt Water’. Fuentes was also recognized as a link between Europe and Latin America, having served as ambassador to France from 1972-76, and for his political work—most notably ‘A New Time for Mexico’ (1995) and ‘Against Bush’ (2004).
Fuentes has been honored many times, with the Romulo Gallegos Prize; the National Literary Prize in Mexico; the Alfonso Reyes Prize; and the French Legion of Honour.
Saturday, 2 July, marked the kick-off of the 21st Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, in Colombia. The festival brings together at least 90 poets and writers from 50 countries all over the world, including the 1992 Nobel Prize-winner Caribbean poet Derek Walcott.
The week-long festival will this year have a special focus on an homage to the ‘Espíritu del Origen’ (Spirit of Origin) as expressed in African poetry and cinema. In total the festival will include 164 different activities such as lectures, screenings, and readings, according to director Fernando Rendón. This is the 21st iteration of the festival, which is now a national fixture and in 2006 received an ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’.
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and its research institute the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA) are unveiling a plan to create an online digital archive of at least 10.000 primary source materials, to be completed by 2015. The project is being spearheaded by ICAA director Mari Carmen Ramírez, who has played a pivotal role in sparking new interest in Latin American art in the past decade.
The archive will draw on the museum’s (massive and arguably best) collection of 20th century Latino art, featuring artists’ writings, correspondence, as well as contemporary newspaper and journal artists. The first phase of the project will go live in January with 2,500 documents from Argentina, Mexico, and the US Midwest. A companion book series is also in the works.
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