Family & Diaspora

Textiles create bonds between family and community members; they contain collective memories that are prompted by touch, smell, and stories of togetherness. Living traditions of making, using, and storing family belongings form intergenerational bonds. Textiles are easily transported and can be moved from place to place with relative ease.

For the theme of Family & Diaspora Guest Programmer Maya Wilson-Sanchez collaborates with Kichwa storyteller and business owner Patricia Cajas and her daughter, artist and filmmaker Samay Arcentales Cajas. Patricia and Samay, along with Patricia’s husband Marcos and their son Kinoo run the store Pacha Indigenous Arts Collective in Toronto. They select two chumbis from the Museum’s collection as the focus of their programming. Chumbis are woven belts of special significance in Kichwa culture. 

Maya, along with Patricia, Marcos, Samay, and Kinoo view the Ecuadorian and other South American textiles from the collection at the Museum with Senior Curator Roxane Shaughnessy. Maya further elaborates on this experience in an audio introduction and an online conversation, Chumbi Stories with Maya Wilson-Sanchez and Pacha Indigenous Art Collection.  

In the video Collection Spotlight: Chumbi Stories, Patricia and Samay take a closer look at chumbis worn by Kichwa people in the Otavalo region in the Andean highlands of northern Ecuador that they call home. Patricia talks about their primary use as part of a woman’s dress which lends support for the back and waist, and how the symbols on chumbis depict plants and animals used for storytelling. Music by Marcos Arcentales accompanies the video.  

In the Pacha Indigenous Arts Collection video, Patricia and Samay talk about their experience as traders on the Powwow trail and continuing the Mindalae tradition of long-distance trading. 

↓ Image | Belt (Chumbi), Ecuador, mid 20th century; wool; woven; 174 x 8.5 cm; T03.51.2

01. Meet Our Guest Programmer

Maya Wilson-Sanchez

Independent Curator, Writer

Maya Wilson-Sanchez is an independent curator and writer based in Toronto and currently the Associate Editor at C Magazine. She has worked in numerous galleries and museums, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gallery TPW, and MKG127, and has curated exhibitions at Xpace Cultural Centre, the Royal Ontario Museum, Pride Toronto, and the Art Gallery of Guelph. In 2019, she was an Editorial Resident at Canadian Art and a Curatorial Resident at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto. The 2020 recipient of the Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators, she is currently curating a year-long public art exhibition for the City of Toronto’s Year of Public Art.

02. Programs

Chumbi Stories with Maya Wilson-Sanchez and Pacha Indigenous Art Collection

Join Guest Programmer Maya Wilson-Sanchez in conversation with Patricia and Samay Arcentales Cajas of Pacha Indigenous Art Collection as they discuss the significance of chumbi belts in Ecuadorian culture, colonial practices of collecting, and new approaches to accessing museum collections.