Ecuador is also an excellent place to experiment Art and has been for many centuries. During the colonial period, the Quito School of Art had a special style, which reflects the mix and the clashing of cultures which occurred during the colonization, with clear indigenous touches which incorporate religious Catholic works. Quito is the native city of the known artist Oswaldo Guayasamín, whose art also has a clear touch of Latin America. Furthermore, there are many artesanal markets in all of Ecuador, where both new and old crafts of the indigenous communities are exposed. Since times immemorial, the crafts created by deft and able hands, passed on from generation to generation, have been an essential component of what is known as the “cultura popular” (popular culture). In Ecuador, this cultural manifestation reflects the country’s traditions: enigmatic, at times pure and mixed, urban and rural, unique and commercial.
This are linked to the elaboration of clothing and utilities for the diverse indigenous and countryman nationalities of the Mountain Range, Coast, and West. This has to do with the ancestral knowledge of the use of natural dyes, cloth instruments, decorations and confectionery. The main products are corsets, cloths, ponchos, quilts, hammocks, saddlebags, sacks, scarves, sombreros, jewels, musical instruments, etc. These products are commercialized in popular markets such as Otavalo, Riobamba, Cañar, Saraguro, etc., and are also exported mainly to Europe and the United States.
Other recognised crafts which are important rubrics of importation are the sombreros made of “toquilla” straw, which are undervalued in the country and have been recognised by brands outside of Ecuador. Handmade jewelry, ceramics, sculpted wood rafts, “tagua” (ivory), masks and waxes, artesanal painting, tinsmithing, ironworks, saddlery, the creation of musical instruments and fire games, all constitute a variety of artisanal production in the country. Ecuadorian craftsmanship is among the most admired in South America.