Action 4 | Che Parahe kué

“Liberation rests on the construction of the consciousness,
the imaginative apprehension, of oppression, and so of possibility” 
Donna Haraway


«Adiós sombra inolvidable mi dicha placer mi gloria rogueraháta en mi memoria en mi mente invariable mi destino irremediable oñecumpli cherehe upévare ipahaite âgâ ndéve apurahéi ikatúnte ndajuvéi adiós che parahekue» Emiliano R.Fernandez

So long, farewell, indelible memories of joy that I will take with me. An irremediable destiny is taking me far away and I can only sing in sorrow… So long, farewell my beloved place…

The words of the poet puts my memory in unceded places. Where context means belonging, a cry for identity, for understanding…
Will I ever know where did the exile start? Is there a choice, a way to reconcile the past that we don’t know?

Latin letters appear among the runic symbols

I continue in this action the exercise of confronting the letters and icons. Revealing the Latin alphabet as the colonizer, the imposed canon to write and read guarani.

I bring now “live” Latin characters, that come into the play to create a complex conversation. Is this dialogue possible? Can we make it possible?

In this game/exercise, the decolonization gesture is a call for starting this “colloquio”, (colloquy), where all voices need to be equal, respected and valued.

Paraguayan Map built with latin and runic characters

Guarani Cosmovision is based in the observation of nature and the universe. People are composed of two souls, the spiritual soul called “ñé” (which also means language, word, sound with sense). This soul expresses itself through speaking, singing, praying, meditating.

The corporal soul is called “ã”and it is located in people’s blood, mother’s milk and shadows. This soul has three components, one that is always attached to the body and the two others that can travel through dreams for short and long periods. When the body dies, the soul is called ãngue, (gue is a past prefix). This soul can sometimes transition (reincarnate) into animals and plants.

Guyra campana (Bell bird) is one of those animals that sometimes carry an “ãngue”. 

Here there’s a video that shows their peculiar dance. Are they human souls expressing their joy?. The music played in the video is called Guyra Campana and it is a popular Paraguayan song, played normally in harp or guitar.

Enrique Dussel in his aesthetics of liberation thoughts talks about Latino american epistemologies and their nature-spiritual correlations as a way to maintaining an ecological balance on the earth.

Guarani ñe’e, (Guarani language) is one of the elements to rewire, redirect and amplify a sustainable decolonizing intent. 

Action 3 | Rewiring, Recoding, Remapping…

Extending and seeking

“The stories we tell about the past shape the methods we use to imagine more equitable futures….we cannot build the liberatory worlds we hope for and imagine without grappling with the inequities we face unevenly Today” D. Rosner

Colonial education and its structure erased much of the aboriginal literacy that was part of the rich cultural background of aboriginal peoples in America. Religious doctrines that came to America to “civilize” and “Christianize” the barbaric “Indians” put a lot of effort into deleting or deviating aboriginal ways of knowing and communicating.  
It not only denied the value of these different literary traditions but also tried to instill Eurocentric knowledge and written literacy as the only valid way of education/literacy. In Paraguay the Jesuits with their “Missions”- (1587-1767) created an infrastructure during two centuries where every aspect of European culture was transferred to the aboriginal peoples as the ultimate way of living. They stablished the written guarani language, adopting the latin alphabet with specific grammatical and orthographical rules similar to Spanish language. 

Map of Paraguay, circa 1780

In my research, I am studying the possibilities of decolonizing design through rewiring the memory of voices that once heard, were disfigured and confused with colonial knowledge. The guarani language which was printed and “hotwired” as if that would make it better, “civilized”…

This is a journey that is starting and will take me through two incommensurable paths, the one that has the memory of the land in the voice of its people, and the one of the settler, who set vastly on printed paper their version of our entangled history.


Action 2 | Mamo’í he’é | Dulce de Mamón

An offering for Charles

Dear Charles…

My Dear Friend Charles,
Hope this letter finds you well,
I want to tell you a story. It is about a woman named Emilia…
She was my grandmother and she lived in a small city called Carapegua.
She loved to cook and the most memorable images that I have of her are not through the memory
of my eyes…They are scents, flavours…lots of scents and lots of flavours…
I just need to close my eyes and meditate, to get to a place of peace in my soul where I can transport myself to sense back those pleasant scents, the smell of spices…pepper, cumin, cinnamon, clove…
To the taste of cane sugar, dulce de leche, goaiba, papaya…
My heart rejoices with utmost happiness when I collect those memories because her kindness and love cover me again, just as when I was a child…
What I want to share with you is a piece of those memories. I want to take you on a journey where through one of her recipes you can feel that happiness in your heart.
The recipe that I chose is called: “Dulce de Mamon”. It is a dessert that I loved to have at my grandma’s house and it is made of very simple ingredients: papaya, cane sugar, clove and water. The only secret is to follow the ritual of making it. With patience, when waiting for the fruit to caramelize and the water to evaporate in a slow and peaceful way…
I also want to share with you the music that she would listen while cooking. I chose “Pajaro Chogui”; “Chogui Bird”, played on Paraguayan Harp. It is a fresh melody that lifts the spirit. My grandmother loved this song.

Well my friend, in the next page of my letter you will find the recipe,
May your days be filled with peace and love,

Talk soon,


Action 1 | Teko Pora

Home is where my soul is located…home is here, home is there, home is them, home is me, home is us...

Guarani cosmovision talks about “Yvymara’ei”, the land without evil:
“a land where the corn grows by itself and men and women can become immortal.”
The Guaranies are in permanent search for this land. This search is based on their profound care for the earth. Looking for it allows them to have balance in the way that they relate to the soil. How they take only what they need and when the earth demands to rest, they move. While they are in that piece of land, they call it “Tekoha”, their place, their home… While living there, they practice the “Teko Pora”, the good living. It is a true ecological balance.

My “diaspora”, the exodus from my homeland brings me to a place of reflection, where the Guarani people’s voice talks about better ways of knowing, doing and being in their intrinsic relation to the earth. But what are my borders, where do they start and end?. Can Canada be the land without evil?. A place where I can be myself?  Definitely it cannot be a land without evil, because otherwise we would have been all immortals, but on the other side, many times, not always, I can be myself.

Diasporic Immigration brought me here, and it made me belong also to this piece of soil. I can hear the colonial voices of oppression, misogyny, sexual discrimination, conservatism, puritanism, ignorance as the border maker from my embryonic home ground. I can not stay within those boundaries. I do not want to.

My latinx american epistemology is filled with questions: When did I arrive? Did I just do?, Can I reconcile acknowledging that my native home ground didn’t want me and that my new one doesn’t really know what to do with me? Because colonial voices also exist in Canada and they talk about me as the “exotic”, the other, the darker. Our current state of unsustainability, (with planetary boundaries that are bleeding), scream for the inextricable need of an ontological diversion from modernist, individualist, capitalist ways. These are ALL mannerisms from Colonialism.

Departing from the homogenizing frame of western understanding can lead us to sustainable futures. To shift away from looking for the universal (the global, in a modernist way) and redirect onto the pluriverse, where many worlds relate to the earth already caring, respecting and restoring it.

Home is here, there, us, them.

MBA’EICHAPA Vancouver!


Tereré | yerba mate, water, lemon and friendship

When we drink tereré in Paraguay, it is all about sharing. It is a way to connect, to pause, to be grateful…It is a moment of reflection, to start over, to move on, to be back.