Today marks the seventh anniversary of the declaration of the weaving of the toquilla straw hat as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, emblematic handicraft of the country that is made in the provinces of Manabí, Azuay, Cañar and Santa Elena.
Through the project of the Presidency of the Artist Artisan Republic, promoted by Rocío de Moreno, president of the All-Life Plan Committee, this fabric has been promoted through the implementation of a comprehensive government program.
The objective has been to support the artisans who make the hats and promote the commercialization of these handicrafts in the local and international market. In this context, in December 2017 the finest hats in the world, which are woven in the commune of Pile, canton Montecristi, were exhibited to dozens of Ecuadorians, businessmen and Spanish artists during the inauguration of the First Ecuadorian Cultural Center in Madrid.
Rocío de Moreno has supported the work of artisans, making their work known at international events. It seeks to rescue this cultural wealth. This is how the manufacturing process was made known, from obtaining the straw to the manual process involved in its manufacture.
Also, in Quito, the hats were presented during the inauguration of the Artisan – Artist exhibition at the Government Palace. There the artisans of Manabí and Azuay were able to show the weaving process to the hundreds of visitors, as well as President Lenín Moreno and his wife, Rocío González.
“This exhibition seeks to revalue the work and trade of Ecuadorian creators who use traditional techniques, declared as intangible cultural heritage of the country and of humanity,” said the first lady. He also noted that “it is necessary to recognize that handicrafts, in addition to beautiful and useful, are essential to boost the economy, becoming a way of life and family support.”
As part of this same initiative, a store located on Garcia Moreno Street was inaugurated outside the Government headquarters, where artisans have the opportunity to display their products and market them directly and at fair prices.
It was precisely through this space that the women weavers of toquilla straw hats of the Association of Weavers of Sígsig – Azuay (Tesya), marketed more than 40 hats in Quito. That represented an income above $ 1,000.
“For us this is a great opportunity to show our crafts, which rescue cultural values and constitute the economic livelihood of our homes,” said Rosa Salinas, craftswoman of Tesya.
In addition to the hats, items made with different artisanal techniques from various regions of the country have also been exhibited in this place, among which are: macanas, embroidery, filigree jewelry and mullos, alpaca sacks, cabuya shigras, Tagua objects, among others.
“Our job has always been to support artisans from all over the country, that’s why we even created a brand called Artisan-Artist, to accompany them in all processes. The goal is not to lose ancestral knowledge and rescue our cultural wealth, ”said Rocío González de Moreno.
As part of this impulse, the Artisan-Artist project was also presented in September 2019 to investors, businessmen and communicators from New York, to promote this fabric internationally that has survived over time in the country.
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