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Latino Daily News

Tuesday June 5, 2012

Colombian Expert Luz Miriam Toro Recognized for Preservation of Pre-Columbian Art

Colombian expert Luz Miriam Toro’s work to ensure that the value of pre-Columbian art from the Tumaco-Tolita culture is recognized throughout the world has earned her recognition from the Women Together (WT) organization that presented one of its annual awards to her on Tuesday.

“I’m happy, very grateful for this marvelous recognition, because nobody is a prophet in their own land,” Toro told Efe before the ceremony held by WT, a Spanish organization but one with a world vocation and one that has been working for years with projects all over the globe, including Colombia.

The organization selected Toro to receive an award this year because of the work that this lover of archaeology and art, in addition to being an avid private collector, has done to spread the pre-Columbian art of the Tumaco-Tolita culture, which thrived more than 1,000 years ago in current Colombia and Ecuador.

“My mission is to spread pre-Columbian art as widely as possible. On many occasions, people only remain on the borders. They only think about Mexico and they forget that further down from Mexico there were other cultures,” Toro said, noting that one should not think that pre-Columbian art includes just that emanating from Mexico or Peru.

“One must think that pre-Columbian art comes from Alaska to Argentina. My idea is for the Tumaco-Tolita culture to be recognized and for, when someone hears those names, them to recognize them just like when the Aztecs are spoken of. It has to be placed on the universal map of archaeology,” the 64-year-old expert told Efe.

Emphasizing the value of the pre-Columbian art of Colombia has always been the aim of this woman, born into a family of farmers and livestock raisers, who devoted her efforts to working with the indigenous peoples of her country until her husband introduced her to archaeology, which would become the area to which she devoted her own life.

“I’ve used all my resources in protecting my culture,” Toro said, explaining that the Tumaco-Tolita culture flourished between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. in the area around the port of Tumaco in Colombia and the island of La Tolita, in Ecuador.

At present, she is involved in finalizing her dream of bringing her collection of pre-Columbian art to the halls of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, something she hopes will occur “soon” after museum personnel showed interest in displaying the pieces.