Argentina and Uruguay
Summer 2005
1.4 hrs
Directed and Produced by:
Ariane Hafizi and Oliver De Lantsheere

A brief Introduction to Manos:

Manos, a documentary of eight different artisans throughout Uruguay and Argentina, gives us an opportunity to look at the varying roles art making takes and how artisan work impacts its communities. What is initially striking is the unique way hand-made artisan work is a dynamic part of the culture. Here in South America there is still a flavor for one of a kind handcrafting. You find it in the cooking, on the streets, and in the art fairs sprinkled throughout cities and small towns- it is vibrant.

Manos takes a look at seven artisans and their communities; mapping out their unique processes and the way their work impacts their lives. Each artist generously invites us into their homes and introduces us to their studio spaces; here we take glimpses of their families and communities. We learn through observing their unique art making process; the history and attention that goes into making these one of a kind pieces. Manos explores the artisans’ life in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay, as well as in the smallest pueblos in Salta and Jujuy, Argentina.

As a whole, we can begin to explore the diversity within these unique artists paths. From Ana, a 21 year old designer of an affluent family in Montevideo, to Jose, a farmer and jewelry designer out in the smallest rural area of Jujuy Argentina. Artisans extending all ages, sexes, classes and backgrounds are introduced in Manos.

A brief introduction to the Artisans:

We begin our journey in Tilcara a small pueblo in the north of Argentina, where we are introduced to Hugo, a family man who lives and works out of his humble home. He makes clay masks that he molds and carves by hand. As he takes us into the process of making his masks he tell us the stories that shaped his growth and artistic process. His work is now sold all throughout Argentina and primarily in Buenos Aires. Deeply influenced by his studies in anthropology and the artistic peers and teachers he had along his path, he infuses this knowledge into his mask making and the stories that he shares.

Manos then moves into Olga and Carlos's story. An elderly married couple from Montevideo who have made their livelihood making silver and gold jewelry. Olga, using the golden ratio and principles from the constructivist movement, designs each piece. Carlos crafts each piece in his metal shop where he has engineered all of his metal-work machines using parts from obscure sources such as bicycle parts.

Eduardo lives steps away from Pucara de Tilcara. Eduardo is very much involved in the community that surrounds him; he now works as a tour guide and builds brightly colored saints out of paper-mache. The saints are depicted in their catholic form, but they are recognized truly as Quechua deities. For example, the Virgin Mary symbolizes Pachamama, "mother earth".

Stone Guy brings us into the mountains, the fields, and into his stone shop. Living in Tilcara, Stone has built his life initially from mining stones in the local mountains of the Jujuy province, which was his family business. He has a little shop where he sells stone skulls and mortars. He is involved in the organic farming of quinoa and amaranth seeds. Having a passion for the sustainable, we are also introduced to Stone's solar panel project.

David lives in the beach town of Atlantida off of route one, about an hour's ride outside of Montevideo. David is passionate about music and makes instruments out of primarily gourds, wood, and string. He sells his instruments in the street fairs of his pueblo as well as in Montevideo. He lives with his brother and niece in a wood house he built himself on stilts surrounded by pine trees, and gardens of herbs and plants. As he creates his instruments for us he speaks about the act of playing music from the heart, what it is like to engage with other musicians and allow the music to naturally move through you.

Ana is the youngest artisan interviewed. She is in her early twenties and lives in Montevideo. Ana lives with her parents and studies design at the university. She has started a business for herself designing dresses for friends and family as well as making jewelry that she sells in Cuidad Vieja at a trendy jewelry store Imaginario. Ana brings us into her process of making a pair of earrings and a matching bracelet that she is constructing out of alpaca and fabric swatches that are left over from her fashion design projects.

Jose lives with his wife and children on their farm out in Jujuy. Jose is passionate about organic sustainable farming, nature, and his seed bank. He makes silver and wood jewelry with indigenous patterns of birds engraved into the silver. He sells his jewelry in Buenos Aires, which gives him the means to sustain his family and lifestyle. Originally from Mar de la Plata, Argentina, Jose and his wife where drawn to Jujuy for the lifestyle, artistic community and nature. Jose’s wife is also a musician who works with the tight-knit community of artists in the area.

The Process of Creating Manos:

Manos, was born from the desire to learn about different cultures and how art making plays a role in peoples lives. Oliver De Lantsheere and I made the commitment to go and explore what was possible in South America. Starting in Montevideo, Uruguay, we had met Olga Piria on a prior trip and blew me away with her work and inspired me to return to find what was possible in this part of the world. Walking around, exploring Oliver and I began to meet people who would peak are interest. David was selling his instruments in Cuidad Vieja on the Street that prompted Oliver to begin a conversation with him. As we began to travel by bus through Argentina, we had no idea who or what awaited us, and to our pleasant surprise we where invited with open arms into the homes and studios of these vibrant artists living fully in their own unique ways. This was all amazing to us, being that it seemed to be such fringe lifestyles compared to the experience we have living on the east coast of the united states. We symbiotically worked together, Oliver filming while I would invite the artisan into sharing with us their experiences and personal stories. After our journey upon returning to NYC we began the arduous process of plowing through eighteen hours of footage and refining what we had with Final Cut Pro. We have now infused the different stories together into a film of about 1.4 hours. We are now beginning the final stages of color and sound corrections and final polishings. We want to expose Manos as much as possible through film festivals, TV. Etc.

About the Film Makers:

Ariane Hafizi is a graduate from Parsons School of Design, she received her BFA in fine arts in 2004. Afterward she worked in New York as a graphic and web designer, and as painter. She moved to Bethesda in 2012 where she continued her painting and design work. After she moved to Bethesda she took over management of Icarus Research Inc.

Oliver De Lantsheere studied Animation through Parsons School of Design and received his BFA in 2003. He additionally studied film making in 2004 at the NY Film Academy.