La leyenda de la papa
Live performance
Duration: 120’
28th October 2021
MUDEC, Milan
©Michela Pastorello

Thanks to the MUDEC the artist had an amazing encounter with the Peruvian painter Marcia Zegarra and talked with her about “La leyenda de la papa”, a very famous legend in Perù that deals with the importance of taking care of small and apparently marginal things, like potatoes are, because they are important and essential even if nobody looks at them.

The performance consisted of a small stage where the artist was sitting while she took care of dirty potatoes. She cleaned them from the mud, put them inside felt, a material that preserves energy and then she gifted the potatoes to the audience.

An old Andean legend tells that the cultivators of quinoa dominated the peoples of the highlands for many years and, in order to let them die slowly, they decreased the food ration for them and their sons. Already on the brink of death, the poor population cried out to heaven and God gave them some fleshy and rounded seeds, which, after being sown, became beautiful bushes that stained the icy punas purple with their flowers. The rulers did not oppose the cultivation, hoping to reap it all for themselves when the opportunity came. Indeed, when the plants turned yellow and the fruits appeared ripe, the oppressors mowed the fields and took away everything they judged was a good harvest. Disconsolate and dying of hunger, the defeated again asked heaven for mercy and a voice said to them from on high: “Remove the earth and extract the fruits, which I have hidden there to outwit the bad men and exalt the good.”
And so it was, under the ground were the beautiful potatoes, which were collected and kept in strict secrecy. Every morning, the men of the Punas added a portion of potatoes to their impoverished diet and soon they reestablished themselves, gathered strength and attacked the invaders who, seeing themselves defeated, fled never to return to disturb the peace of the mountains.