Our guide in Peru had a fabulous sense of humor. “Angel! What are we heaving for lunch today?” “Kentucky Fried Cuy,” was the answer that sent a wave of terror throughout our bus filled with mostly American and Australian tourists. “No! No! No! Anything, but cuy!” in deep disgust cried the bus. Cuy is guinea pig for those of you who did not figure that out already, and it is considered a delicacy in Peru. So our Peruvian guide Angel played the role of the devil once in a while and messed with our bus, just for the heck of it. I got to taste the controversial cuy and I liked it. But this blog is not about cute little rodents that live under the beds of people’s homes enjoying their short lives in-between major holidays before they become a gourmet centerpiece on a festive table. Believe it or not, this blog is about another subject that cuy symbolizes for me – Fusion of the Arts! Surprised? Come on! Have faith in me!
I was very fortunate to visit Spain, India, and Peru this year. Each country is fascinating in it’s own way and I am overwhelmed with their unparalleled beauty. Although located on opposite sides of the world, to my dismay I found some similarities in all of them, which could be summarized as Mergers and Acquisitions! One of the common trends was to build new structures on top of the previous ones regardless to the fact that the land next door to them was still on the market. The intent was to build bigger temples for bigger gods, obviously, because every new god was superior to his predecessor. New humongous temples had to be constructed on top of the previous temples, maybe because people there were forward thinkers and this was an early version of recycling. Or maybe they just wanted to make sure that the previous god would stay put under the foot of the new, superior one. I guess it was a matter of making a statement: “My temple is bigger, richer and more powerful than yours!” Size matters after all!
The more I learn about the history of human civilization, the more disillusioned I become with the human race. It seems we can justify just about anything if it happened for a greater good, which of course is extremely subjective. I am very tempted to write about Spanish Conquistadors in Peru destroying everything within their reach, including the very records of the entire great civilization of the Incas. Do not get me wrong, Incas were no saints themselves and by the time the Spanish arrived, the Incas had conquered most of the other Indian tribes in the region. I’m tempted to write about first the Moguls and later British Conquistadors in India. The Spanish Inquisition is one of the many other charming topics I am tempted to write about, especially after my trip to Spain last summer that reminded me once again about what it did to MY people. Then, I feel that I would do great unjustness to the rest of our world! How about all the other wars that constantly reshaped our civilization in the past and are still making daily headlines in the press today?
BUT I WILL NOT GO DOWN THIS ROUTE! I am not a historian or anthropologist and cannot look at all of it objectively! I refuse to turn to the dark side and entirely lose my faith in humanity! I choose to put on my cheerleading face and write about what I love – THE ARTS! And I will call it Fusion of the Arts or Kentucky Fried Cuy! Sounds a lot more cheerful, doesn’t it?
Artists of all times represent the enlightened side of humanity. Their job is to make sense of, and reconcile all that mess that was done by the dark side for one reason or another. Artists effortlessly marry different cultures with all their subjective views into one without any bloodshed in a process. Artists built real temples throughout history literally and figuratively speaking. Because of them we know that those civilizations even existed. So now in Peru through historical “Mergers and Acquisitions,” the Catholic Cathedral of Cusco became a cultural melting pot of the symbolism of the Incas, European Baroque and Moorish elements coexisting a lot more peacefully than their original creators; and us American Tourists, the main source of income for Cusco region. The grand apotheosis of this ginormous historic merger and acquisition is a very special painting taking a modest place in a in Cusco Cathedral by an unknown local artist, a student of a Spanish master, Last Supper Peruvian style with the Kentucky Fried Cuy as a the centerpiece that seals the deal!