Perched high on a hill overlooking Otavalo is a giant hummingbird. Like the many iridescent hummingbirds found buzzing around the city, this one also has green wings. Otavalo’s Intercommunity Cultural Center, the Hummingbird House (known as Kinti Wasi in the Indigenous Kichwa language) was officially opened to the public on October 14th.
In the presence of representatives of all ethnic and cultural groups of Otavalo and Imbabura province, the inauguration ceremony and celebration was presided over by Erika Sylva, the Minister of Culture, and Mario Conejo, Mayor of Otavalo.
At 9:30 in the morning, delegations came from all four points of the city to the Monserrat neighborhood, and climbed the hill to the giant hummingbird. Brass bands played throughout the morning.
Besides the provincial Governor, Gabriela Rivadeneira, and Erika Sylva, the Ecuadorian Minister of Culture, varied artists, writers, musicians and dignitaries, attendees included the 2011 Yamor and Sara Ñusta Queens (Milisen Puente and Paola Rocio Arellano Sarabino), and the ever present Luisito, the mascot symbol of Otavalo, a towering presence as always when he appears at Otavalo functions.
The opening of this beautiful center for the arts, poetry and book readings, musical performances and cultural events of every kind was a happy event for Otavalo.
Kinti Wasi, the House of Colibri (Hummingbird) is one of 17 Intercultural Community Centers in the country, and Ecuador’s largest.
An art gallery and classrooms for teaching painting occupy the southern wing of the Hummingbird.
In the northern wing of Kinti Wasi is a performing arts theater.
Musical performances, book readings, art exhibits, anniversaries of important cultural events are among the events being held during the first few weeks following inauguration of the center.
An dance to celebrate the opening of the building was held in the main floor at the “house of the hummingbird”. Everyone joined in, dancing in a circle, accompanied by drums and traditional instruments, an essential part of tradition to open newly completed homes and other buildings.
Later in the evening performances by various musical groups were held in the tent outside the building, and also a musical competition, “Otavalo Sings to Otavalo”.