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Mayor exhibition dedicated to the Andean road system, built by the Incas, crossing six Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

A journey through history, anthropology, craftsmanship, archaeology, contemporary art, ancestral knowledge, cooperation between countries, community and sustainable tourism to discover this living Heritage.

11 May - 22 August 2021

MUCIV - Museo delle Civiltà
Rome, Italy
Location, contact

General Curator: Rosa Jijón

Curator contemporary section: José de Nordenflycht

Technical curator: Nuria Sanz

Curator section archaeology: Donatella Saviola

Curator arts and crafts section: CIDAP (Centro Interamericano de Artesanías y Artes Populares)

IILA – Organizzazione internazionale italo-latino americana presents an unprecedented exhibition in Italy and Europe about the Qhapaq Ñan – The Great Andean Trail at the MUCIV – Museo Delle Civiltà in Rome, from November 20th, 2020.

Qhapaq Ñan – The Great Andean Trail is a thrilling tour through the Andean road system created by the Incas on the basis of Pre-inca infrastructure, that irradiate to six countries in Latin America for a total of more than 30,000 kilometers: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The Inca trail has been studied and researched by various disciplines (archaeology, engineering, history, anthropology) and represent a powerful means of communication among peoples. It still functions as a connector among communities and as a space of economic and cultural exchange, as it has been doing for centuries akin to the great consular roads of the Roman Empire. The trail crosses one of the world’s most extreme geographies, ranging from the 6000 mt high Andean peaks to dry deserts and rainforests, to the coasts.

The exhibition offers an unique occasion to know the various facets of the Qhapaq Ñan territory. The variety of issues dealt with reflects some of the Sustainable Development Targets of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations. IILA – a UN observer – intends to contribute to the achievement of these targets with its projects in Latin America. Qhapaq Ñan – The Great Andean Trail offers a perspective on the promotion of sustainable growth, with focus on sustainable tourism, protection of communities, immaterial heritage and traditional knowledge, support to innovation, development of food security, and sustainable agriculture, cooperation among countries, archaeology, history, craftmanship, contemporary arts, photography.

Double-jamb trapezoidal stone door with felines carved in its lintels, Huánuco, Perù.
© Photo: Courtesy of Jose Luis Matos, Ministry of Culture of Peru
Qhapaq Ñan at Áncash, Peru
© Photo: Courtesy of Proyecto Qhapaq Ñan – Sede Nacional. Ministry of Culture of Peru
Volcano Llullaillaco, Salta, Argentina
© Photo: Mario Lazarovich
Puente del Inca, Mendoza, Argentina
© Photo: Mario Lazarovich
Valle Colorado, Jujuy, Argentina. Section Santa Ana - Valle Colorado.
© Photo: Courtesy of Victoria Ayelén Sosa
Killa Raiymi, Ecuador (Moon Ceremony)
Instituto Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural, Ministerio de Cultura y Patrimonio del Ecuador
Cecilia Vicuña: Quipu Mapocho, 2017. Video (multimedia performance). Rìo Mapocho, Chile.
Courtesy of the artist, Lehmann Maupin Gallery and INVERCINE
Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza: A certain idea of paradise, 1. This gold we eat (following Guamán Poma de Ayala), 2006
© Photo: Courtesy of the artist

The Qhapaq Ñan has been declared UNESCO World Heritage in 2014 after a complex process of cultural cooperation among six countries. This is why it represents a unique case of construction of a joint collective narrative. The whole process, carried out under the overview of Nuria Sanz, an outstanding expert on the issue and main promoter of the Qhapaq Ñan, is the result of the collaborative work of six Qhapaq Ñan secretaries and UNESCO.

Contemporary arts is put in dialogue with traditional knowledge, thus providing evidence that Qhapaq Ñan is a living heritage, that brings together the past, the present, a symbolic richness, that – together with the Andean cosmovision – has inspired the work of various artists such as Gracia Cutuli (Argentina), Joaquín Sánchez (Bolivia), Cecilia Vicuña (Chile), Gabriel Vanegas (Colombia), Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza (Ecuador), Mariano León (Peru). The curator of this section of the exhibition is José de Nordenflycht, art critic and historian, expert in heritage and contemporary art production.

The visual chronicles by Chilean photographer Claudio Pérez, with his portraits of faces of the Qhapaq Ñan, will also be displayed as a contribution of contemporary documentary photography.

"2020 has been an exceptionally difficult, uncertain year - explains Rosa Jijón – and we are all aware of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on cultural activities and the lives of those who work in the sector. The exhibition, originally scheduled for May of 2020, is only opening months later, following a number of changes, and without the South American artists, curators and technical experts being on hand. We felt the need to continue with the project, despite the difficulties and challenges to be faced, in the belief that making culture is a way of communicating and making the most of our heritage. We are convinced that this is the perfect time to give the city a chance to draw closer to South America, through the works and knowledge that we showcase at the MUCIV – Museo delle Civiltà, in an ongoing dialogue with the archaeological treasures of the Museo Preistorico ed etnografico Luigi Pigorini, all motivated by the need to strengthen relations between the cultural institutions of Rome, Italy as a whole and the IILA".

Following the closing of all museums on account of the Covid-19 health crisis, the exhibition opened together with the arrival of Jaime Nualart as the new Cultural Secretary of the IILA.

About the exhibition

The exhibition is organized in several sections. The part dedicated to Qhapaq Ñan as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has a geographical order. It presents to the general public the work that the Technical Secretaries of the Qhapaq Ñan of the countries involved have developed in the field of international management and protection of cultural property.

Demonstrating that the Qhapaq Ñan is a living heritage, sections of contemporary art and crafts have been included. The first one shows how the Andean cosmovision has influenced the work of the artists selected for the exhibition. The second section shows how crafts are a living legacy of ancestral culture by means of a selection of pieces from CIDAP - Interamerican Center for Popular Arts and Crafts.

The exhibition also includes a selection of archaeological exhibits of the MUCIV-Museo delle Civiltà, the Luigi Pigorini prehistoric-ethnographic collection, with objects from the places of origin of the Qhapaq Ñan from different pre-Colombian periods.

Finally, a section of strategic partners (AICS, ICCROM, COOP CULTURE, CNR) introduces themes and projects that address current challenges: sustainable growth, responsible and community-based tourism, protection of native communities, encouragement of innovation, development and promotion of food security and sustainable agriculture.

IILA in cooperation with 6 countries

This IILA project has been made possible by the collaboration of the six countries crossed by the trail, through their Embassies and Qhapaq Ñan secretaries; MUCIV – Museo delle Civiltà, that hosts the exhibition and displays a selection of its archaeological artifacts from Qhapaq Ñan locations; AICS – Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo, that works on protection, valorization and documentation of material and immaterial heritage in the territories crossed by the Trail; CIDAP - Centro Interamericano de Artesanías y Artes Populares, with its display of contemporary craftmanship showing how this is a living heritage of Latin American culture; ICCROM - International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, with its images of the Qhapaq Ñan in the 70’s and 80’s taken by Alva de Balderrama; CoopCulture, with its project for rural communities development “INCAmmino”; CNR – Consiglio Nazionale delle ricerche, with its exhibition “Beyond the visible”, result of a collaboration with the University of Warsaw, showing how the most advanced technology in geophysics can be applied to archaeology.

Support, patronage, media partners

With the support of:
DGCS – MAECI (Direzione Generale per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo – Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale), CAF – Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina, Terna

Under the patronage of:
MAECI – Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale; MIBACT - Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali e per il turismo; Commissione Nazionale Italiana per l’UNESCO; ICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites - Consiglio Nazionale Italiano dei Monumenti e dei Siti; ICCROM - International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property; RAI - Radiotelevisione Italiana; Associazione Italiana Turismo Responsabile; Touring Club Italiano.

Media partner:
RAI Cultura – Artribune – Universes in Universe

Technical sponsor:
Arte Cargo – Centro Sperimentale di Fotografia Adams

Exhibition venue:
MUCIV – Museo delle Civiltà
Piazza Guglielmo Marconi 8
00144 Rome
Location on map

IILA - Organización internacional ítalo-latino americana
Secretaría Cultural
Tel.: 06 68492. 225/246
Website | Email

Exhibition website | Network

Press office:
UC STUDIO, press(at)ucstudio.it

From press information by IILA.
Photo top: Staircase on the Yungas, Jujuy, Argentina. Section Santa Ana - Colorado Valley. Segment: Quebrada Grande – Las Escaleras. Photo: Victoria Ayelén Sosa, courtesy of ILLA.

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