The Incas used older sites such as those of Sacsayhuaman, and Kenko, near Cusco. The principle stone in Kenko is encircled by cut stones pointing out an immense boulder that appears to be the remnant of a puma. Why would you mark a stone that has almost no form? This would be because you want to leave it as a ritual element, an offering, to the remains of prior epochs, to convey a mystery, or a truth. It was most probably a stone used long before the time of the Inca, and related to the existing sacred cave. All Inca sacred places have tunnels and ritual caves; all over the world we find the same story: the Mountain with the inner cavern; a burial place where you were ‘reborn’ in the purifying essence of the Mother earth.
The entire area above Cusco near Sacsayhuaman is a place with labyrinthine forms, caves with entries and exits, including markings like snakes, which show the underworld as a symbol. All of this cave culture, of underground water, of the universal virgin, is also related to Markawasi in that there is a devotion to a sacred place in the two elements of the Universe: as above, so below; the virgin with her different names: Pachamama, the earth mother, the European black virgins, and various other themes, having tremendous relation with the prayers to the mountain, the prayer to Mother Earth.
Markawasi is, in the end, the natural expression of a mountain with its many special formations, as if the Earth had given birth to a full collection of mysteries in stone. When human beings behold this mystery, we are struck by the same impressions that persons living thousands of years ago had felt; therefore, Markawasi is an expression of the Sacred Earth and a message to the future era.
Markawasi cannot be understood as a sculpture in each stone, but as a place where all the stones, whether re-touched or natural, confer a message. Here are displayed the values of man, his knowledge of the seasons, and his often magical relation to the Universe. They used the elements of sun and shadow to work their art, where they united the affinities of sky and earth with the universal solar clock, marking where man held ceremonies to record the passage of time. In Markawasi, one sees reflections of his inner self; imagination made manifest, a mirroring of our most secret yearning.
Sacred places require one thing – that man has a relationship with them. In Peru you have the tradition of ‘ayni’, the apu “mountain gods”, or whatever you consider to be Divine. You give it your prayers, your dedication, your offerings, and it reciprocates in kind – this is ayni. All of Peru is full of sacred mountains; some have their own prayers which are thousands of years old. Today you find in the northeast Brazilian mountains cave paintings that are 30,000 years old, whose carbon dating have changed the written history of earth. This will continue to expand our knowledge until we discover the pre-existing immense cycles that rule the ages of our Planet.
History changes constantly because people are pioneers who sacrifice themselves in the quest for knowledge. I say that they sacrifice themselves because bringing new things to history requires people who devote their life to finding the hidden knowledge. From the time of Copernicus to present day, free-thinkers have been condemned or ridiculed for their pioneering spirit. There will always be an academic side that will want to maintain a stable history, but history is never stable. History is a human version of reality. It is a continuum that changes with time, transforming itself. Thus, the fundamental element for change, for any person who wishes to make real history, is to valiantly propose new theories, and this is how new elements come into play.
When I was sixteen, I went to Markawasi for the first time. My grandfather, who was more a father figure, helped me go to Europe to study art. I left my career in economics, and ended up taking photographs and traveling with him. I think that my themes have always been about the inner symbols and the voyage of discovery that one has with the universe. And the places where art took me are related to Markawasi, China, Egypt, Mexico, Europe and other places that I visited. The same themes influenced my photography and painting.
It is impossible to not join art and Markawasi. If I wanted to sculpt stone and light on a small scale today, to see how the system of cutting a stone so that the light in certain moments of the day would give form to an eye, or an eyebrow, or a nose, it is with great difficulty, because in one single stone you could have three faces, or more, like in Markawasi.