Traditional Weaver - Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez
Image: © David VanBuskirk, www.incas.org
Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez is a Quechua weaver and scholar. She was born in Chinchero, a village in the southern highlands of Peru. Nilda's ancestors are the Inka.
Many of the ancient weaving techniques Nilda learned from her elders were in danger of disappearing. In response, Nilda founded the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC). The CTTC has supported weavers from several highland villages, who have revived these skills and traditions.
Nilda's mission to explore and preserve traditional weaving techniques is a calling of great importance. In Peru, weaving is much more than an art form or a practical necessity. Andean textiles honour Pacha Mama, Mother Earth. Their weaving patterns represent the sacred landscape - its animals, plants, people and beliefs. For Andean peoples, losing the ability to weave could mean losing a vital link with their history and culture.