Protecting Our World Heritage – Centro Regional De Patrimonio (CERPA)
Meet Ana Lucía González Muñoz and Yoldez Halleb and how their amazing story of friendship turned into a heritage project, here in Guatemala: CERPA
They met in Baku, Azerbaijan, where they were representing their countries, Guatemala and Tunisia, at the World Heritage Young Professionals Forum,during the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. There, they connected on several different levels, most importantly, their passion for the protection of cultural heritage. They were architects, who studied in the UK/Italy and the US, specializing in heritage management and preservation, with very rich experiences internationally. With the goal of creating a project together they came up with the idea of founding a cultural heritage project in Guatemala.
The Centro Regional De Patrimonio (CERPA) was born out of the need to revive and protect the rich cultural heritage of Central America and more specifically of Guatemala. CERPA is a heritage center that aims to advance preservation by providing educational opportunities, consultancy on heritage management and conservation and also career opportunities to local youth through its restoration workshops. Concerned about the lack of materials for restoration in Guatemala, CERPA created its own brand of materials imported from all over the world.
CERPA‘s work is divided into three departments.
The department of Management of Cultural Heritage provides consultancies for the management of museums, galleries and heritage sites — all related to heritage projects. It also provides workshops for heritage professionals featuring topics such as conservation, risk management and cultural marketing.
The second department of CERPA is the Conservation and Restoration workshops. The center offers restoration services for movable heritage such as sculptures made of wood, plaster, clay and marble, paintings on various surfaces such as canvas, paper and wood in addition to the conservation of paper such as documents, archives, books and photographs. All these services are supported by the use of technologies like 3-D scanning and modeling, X-rays, TAC, digital reconstruction and documentation. In order to make the restoration and conservation of the Guatemalan heritage accessible to all, whether it is privately owned family heritage, religious or public heritage, CERPA’s work is partially funded by private donors and international organizations.
Regarding the lack of education in terms of Heritage CERPA has created a department for education. This department provides an opportunity for people working in the heritage field to expand their knowledges and skills on topics such as museology, marketing, interpretation, iconography and management. In addition, recognizing the importance of the intangible heritage and its value for the preservation of the local identity, CERPA has created projects that ensure the transmission of knowledge to the future generations. One of its main successful projects is the “Rescue of the traditional artistic techniques” through a variety of workshops where everyone can learn and rescue artistic techniques that are unique to Guatemala such as the technique of “Encarnado al Oleo.” This is the traditional technique used during the Colonial period to give sculptures a realistic aspect to the skin by using the urinary bladder of a Ram (sheep specie).
Another example of the workshops provided in CERPA is the Gold leaf technique, a technique of applying genuine gold leaves, used on alter pieces of baroque style. These workshops are taught in Antigua and Guatemala city (and soon for the western region of Guatemala, in Quetzaltenango).
Recently, the center started another project titled, “A Journey Around the World” for children so they can learn about the heritage in world civilizations and to raise their awareness on the importance of cultural heritage protection in a fun and educational way.
REVUE magazine article.