The Kamëntsá are an Indigenous community of southwest Colombia whose ancestral homeland is the Sibundoy Valley, a mountain basin straddling the Andean highlands to the west and overlooking the vast Amazonian lowlands to the east. It is fitting that such a unique geographical position, situated between two vastly different ecological and cultural worlds, should be home to a people as unique as the Kamëntsá, who fuse Andean and Amazonian cultural elements, speak a language unrelated to any other, and whose forms of artistic and philosophical expression are singular in the world.
There is a longstanding and possibly unresolvable debate in art criticism over the importance of distinguishing between art and artist. The school of New Criticism, developed in the mid-twentieth century, sought to isolate works of art as self-contained objects. In 1967 the postmodernist Roland Barthes declared that “the author is dead,” signaling a view of art in which the intentions and biography of the artist are not only irrelevant, but interfere with the viewer’s ability to admire and interpret works of art on their own merit.
“I felt rather unaccountably towards the beautiful stranger. I did feel, as she said ‘drawn towards her’ but there was also something of repulsion. In this ambiguous feeling, however, the sense of attraction immensely prevailed. She interested and won me; she was so beautiful and so indescribably engaging.” Twenty-six years before Dracula was published, there was Carmilla. The novella, written by French author Sheridan Le Fanu, chronicles the story of a noblewoman named Laura living in Germany who receives a mysterious yet beautiful countess named Carmilla as her guest.