When people ask me why I devote so much of my free time to Wikipedia, I tell them that while I dont get paid for what I do, I get some amazing perks! I experienced one of these perks during my recent trip to the Costa Chica region on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Mexico’s first Wikipedia GLAM cooperation is with the Museo de Arte Popular (MAP) in Mexico City, which started in May 2011. MAP has invited me and other Wikipedians to cover various museum events for Wikipedia. One of these was the sixth anniversary celebration of the institution in March of 2012, where I had the chance to meet a number of interesting artisans, including Juana Santa Ana. Juana does public relations for a group of Amuzgo indigenous weavers called Liaa’ Ljaa,’ which is in Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero state, near the Pacific coast. Xochistlahuaca is the largest Amuzgo community in Mexico where most people still wear traditional dress and speak the Amuzgo language. The most notable garment is the women’s huipil, a long tunic worn over a sleeveless dress. You can see both hand woven huipils with complicated designs as well as those made from commercial fabric.
Juana invited my husband (AlejandroLinaresGarcia) and me to visit her town and see the work that they do. Juana could not accompany us, but she gave us the name of her brother Ireneo, who runs the Xochistlahuaca Community Museum. We spent almost two days in the town, getting not only a personal tour of the town and museum and a chance to take photos of some of the town’s weavers but we were also treated to meals prepared by Juana’s and Ireneo’s mother (who speaks only Amuzgo). While tops was the opportunity to take the photos and show everyone what we can do in Wikipedia, I have to admit the food was a really, really close second!
Finished articles for Wikipedia from that trip so far include the Costa Chica of Guerrero (the region where most Amuzgo live) and Amuzgo textiles. Other articles that will follow include one about the Amuzgo people and a decent expansion of Xochistlahuaca. The Amuzgo people I met were amazing. Neither Juana or Ireneo were familiar with Wikipedia as most of the older generations from Xochistlahuaca are not familiar with the Web. However, they are open to new ideas and how to promote their amazing textiles to the world.