Ramiro Aguilar Villamarí­n

Photographer / Videographer / Documentarist
   
TSANKU
Location: Ecuador
Nationality: Ecuadorian
Biography: Ramiro Aguilar Villamarín is a documentary photographer based in Quito, Ecuador. Since 2018 he has been a member of the Asociación de Fotografos Ecuatorianos (AFE) and a collaborator of EverydayAmazon , part of EverydayProjects . His... MORE
Public Story
TSANKU
Copyright Ramiro Aguilar Villamarín 2022
Date of Work Feb 2018 -
Updated Nov 2020
Topics Amazon, Community, Documentary, Essays, Indigenous People, Latin America, Photography, Spirituality, Spotlight, Tobacco
For the WHO, tobacco is a legal recreational drug for which more than 8 million people die each year, about half of its users. Although smoking in Western societies is considered an epidemic, in native cultures of the Amazon on the other hand tobacco is a spiritual plant: it makes the user aware of his or her environment, of the beings of the forest, helps to scare away unwanted spirits and to communicate with other beings. The Shuar people of Ecuador are no exception to this practice.

In a visit in 2018 I had the opportunity to participate in a tobacco drinking ceremony in the Shuar community of Consuelo, Pastaza province (Ecuador). The ceremonial tobacco consumption is done by depositing dry leaves of this plant in a bowl with water, maceration of the mixture which is then consumed by drinking it through the nose. Tsanku means "tobacco" in Shuar Chicham, the original language of the Shuar people. This photo essay is my approach and interpretation of the ritual in this specific geography.

Para la OMS, el tabaco es una droga legal de uso recreativo por la cual fallecen más de 8 millones de personas al año, alrededor de la mitad de sus consumidores. Aunque el tabaquismo es considerado una epidemia en las sociedades occidentales, en las culturas originarias de la Amazonía, en cambio, el tabaco es una de las principales plantas espirituales: sensibiliza a quien la consume con su entorno, con los seres de la selva, ayuda a espantar espíritus indeseados y a comunicarse con otros seres. El pueblo shuar de Ecuador no es excepción con respecto a esta práctica.

En una visita realizada en 2018 tuve la oportunidad de participar en una ceremonia de bebida de tabaco en la comunidad shuar de Consuelo, provincia de Pastaza (Ecuador). El consumo de tabaco ceremonial se realiza depositando hojas secas de esta planta en un cuenco con agua, macerando la mezcla que posteriormente se consume bebiéndola a través de la nariz. Tsanku significa “tabaco” en shuar chicham, la lengua originaria del pueblo shuar. Este ensayo visual es mi aproximación e interpretación del ritual en esta geografía específica.
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