Educator, Natalie Bedon: My name is Natalie Bedon and I work in Family Programs at MoMA.
You are looking at a work by the Peruvian artist Elena Izcue, El Arte Peruano en la Escuelas. This title means Peruvian Art in Schools.
Elena Izcue worked primarily in drawings, but also did textile works and different kinds of designs like the ones you see here. This work was made on a cuaderno, which in Spanish means notebook. There is a duality in the word cuaderno because cuadro means square, and this is a notebook with many little squares. I spent my childhood in Quito, Ecuador, where I went to school and used notebooks like the one that you see here.
This book was meant to teach children the importance of these Indigenous symbols because some of our culture isn't well-preserved, some of our culture is dying. I see a lot of animals that have wings and different kinds of eyes and feet. A lot of it is tied to mythology, beliefs that certain creatures bring positive things into your life the more that you honor them. For indigenous cultures, they are symbols that are very real, whether we see them in the physical form or not.
If you look square by square, you could recreate that if you wanted to. I think using the grid, she really wanted people to easily be able to reproduce them so that they could live on, even after this book, even after this encounter in the Museum.