On a sunny day at the top of the hill named for a little loaf of bread, The Panecillo, you are likely to find at least a few artisans selling their wares on the grassy knoll at the base of the huge statue of the Virgin Mary.

I would like to introduce you to two of them… if you have the chance to catch them at work on the hillside, all the better. If not, I’ve provided telephone numbers for contact down below.

Artists at the Panecillo, Luz Vacacela

First, meet Luz Vacacela. She is from Saraguro, Ecuador. This small town is the home of many indigenous Quichua and is located in the far south of the country not far from Loja. That places Luz faraway from home. She lives in Quito partly because her artwork can be sold in the larger city and on the days that she comes to the Panecillo, making a long trip by bus, she makes a decent wage selling her artwork to tourists. She certainly convinced us to buy from her, but not with her words. Her artwork speaks for itself. She makes the most beautiful beaded necklaces. Amazingly, much of her work is made sitting their on the grass next to the path. Her hands delicately hold complex beaded pieces while her fingers add more and more beads to make the necklace work. She uses no tools beyond her hands and a needle and thread.

Luz can be contacted at either 098-415-1983 or 098-900-1655.

ARTISTS AT THE PANECILLO, LOBO OSO CHILLON CARVA

Next, meet Lobo Oso Chillon Carva, a Lakota-Quichua living in Quito. Yes, you read that right. His father was born Lakota, from the United States, and immigrated to Ecuador before Lobo was born. He married a Quichua woman and the unique mix of indigenous cultures was underway! As we spoke to him to learn more about his unique background, he made me a double circled ring representing infinity and gifted it to me at the end of our conversation.

Not long after my friends and I chatted with him on the hillside, he was interviewed by Humans of Quito and his story was the same as the one he told us:

I’m 40 years old, my father is Lakota and my mother is Quechua. I make filigree handicrafts and also with precious stones like jade or onyx.

My clothing represents a medicine man, known in Lakota as wičháša and in Quechua, yachak. My earrings are dreams catchers, which are an emblematic symbol of the Lakota natives, now known as Sioux.

I’ve lived half of my life here. Ecuador is a paradise, people from Quito are very cordial and kind; Ecuadorians are exceptional people. I’ve had difficult times so that society would accept me as an Amerindian: the traditional clothing, the hair, the feathers and my handicrafts.

I’d like to give a word of advice to the global society: learn to accept and appreciate yourself, from where you come, where you’re going and who you are.

Lobo Oso can be contacted at 098-740-4438.

If you know a local artist that would like to be interviewed for Not Your Average American, please let me know! You can drop me a note at angiedrake at hotmail dot com or leave a comment here on the blog.