Varayoc

He who has the rod

 

"Varayoc is not just a baton 

Varayoc is a symbol

Varayoc is a promise

Varayoc is a path. “ 

(Galería Forum)

 

This piece originates from a fragment of a photograph by Martín Chambi from 1934 in Tinta, Canchis, Cusco. A man and a boy on the sides, holding rods that symbolize power; in the middle, a woman with her hands together, empty. She is the only one who is barefoot. I draw a close up of her hands and intervened them with the Paracas ringed knitting, a technique that has been lost over time, which becomes a braid. 

 

The rod was a symbol of political and religious authority since pre-Incas cultures. Carved wooden rods, sometimes intervened with silver and gold, represented nature elements and pre-Hispanic worldview. During the Inca empire, it continues as a figure of power, and with the Spanish invasion, the Inca’s rod got mixed with the Spanish scepter, resulting in the popular rod used nowadays by some Peruvian political authorities in government ceremonies. At the beginning of the Republic, the varayocs (the ones who hold the rod) weren’t recognized by the government and only operate within indigenous communities. The inclusion of the rod by some political figures like Alberto Andrade, Lima’s major from 1996 until 2002 and congressman from 2006 until 2009, is done like a recall of Andean inclusion. 

 

Changing the symbology is useless without questioning the structures of oppression. 

The decolonization of power can not come without gender discourse, without the destruction of the patriarchy.