• Theater

LA OLLA

By P.T.C Núcleo de Creación Arica

Chile

  • Spanish

In Arica, you can eat spicy mondongo (guts) and dance tumbe. This play revives the African traditions that are still alive and kicking in the north.


La olla takes place in a soup kitchen in Arica. Mondongo (guts) is being cooked, a local traditional recipe with African roots. During this process and given its cultural legacy, a series of paintings are superimposed onto the scene, hinting at the memory of people of African descent.

P.T.C Núcleo de creación Arica

This team is made up of four artists from the Arica and Parinacota Region. Paula Gallardo is in charge of Afro dance, Jaime Escobar is from Teatro Circo, Pablo Domínguez is in charge of the music and Fernando Montanares is the playwright and director.

—It’s a chance to find out more about the important African roots of northern Chile, which can still be seen in traditions such as the religious baile de morenos de paso dance, the celebration of the May Cross, the Afro-Arican tumbe dance and, of course, the spicy dish of mondongo (guts). As musician and teacher Pablo Domínguez said to Interferencia: “Arica is spilling over with interculturality. In a single classroom, you’ll find indigenous students, students of African descent, mixed-race students and migrants”.

Mondongo: This means ‘guts’ in the Bantu language of Africa. Dishes with this ingredient first appeared with the arrival of the descendants of Africans to the American continent, specifically in Peru. It’s eaten year-round and, as well as guts, includes onions, carrots, whole and mashed potatoes, rocoto chili peppers and - giving it a unique flavor – a plant called llaita from the bogs in the altiplano.

Afro-Chileans: This term is used to describe people descended from sub-Saharan Africans. They have three origins: they are descendants of slaves brought to the north during colonial times, when this belonged to the Viceroyalty of Peru; they are descendants of African slaves brought to other parts of America and who then emigrated to Chile or they are immigrants from African countries. The first group appeared after the annexation of Arica and Parinacota and Tarapacá after the War of the Pacific. This population has the highest level of miscegenation and a budding Afro-Chilean identity after more than a century of being invisible to the state. They live mainly in the Lluta and Azapa Valleys.

—Take a look at the recordings of the work and rehearsals of Arica’s Comparsa Tumba Carnaval, of which Paula Gallardo is a member.

—Find out about the work of Fernando Montanares in this interview he gave to Uniacc.

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