Interviews

Giant Guatemalan kites come to Singapore

By Priyanka Chand AgarwalEvents - 06 September 2012 7:00 PM | Updated 10:16 AM

Giant Guatemalan kites come to Singapore

Kite master Julio with a few of his smaller kites

The NTUC Income Kite Festival Singapore 2012's grand flying days, presented by ACT3 International happen this weekend, so head on over to The Promontory, Marina Bay to catch kites and kite masters from all over the world display their flying prowess.  One of the main features of this year’s festival are the giant Guatemalan kites – gorgeous, grand and completely hand made.

We caught up with the man behind these beauties; kite master Julio Roberto Asturias Chiquitó gives us the lowdown on what to expect at the festival’s flying days.

What can we expect from you at the kite festival?

Guatemala is the land of Giant kites and at the festival we will be showcasing kites that measure 3m, 6m and 12m. These have been designed by me and completely handmade by my team at the ‘happy boys club’.

Guatemalan
A giant Guatemalan kite

How did you become a kite-master, tell us a little about your background?

I have been designing kites for the past nine years. It’s a painstaking process that took me three years to master.  The first year I learnt just how to cut the paper, the second year I learnt the pasting and then I took another whole year to master the design. I am a mathematics and art teacher by day, but designing kites is my hobby and passion.

What goes into the making of a Guatemalan kite?

The kites are made of rice paper and are very colorful, some think they are painted but it is actually artful pasting of paper.  A kite could take up to seven months to complete. We begin designing it in February and March is when we do the bamboo-work.  Many of my designs are representative of social events and cultural icons.

Is this your first time in Singapore, how do you like it?

I have been on festivals to China and India, but this is my first time in Singapore. I am very impressed and hope to return again soon.

Any other kinds of kites you hope to check out at the festival?

I was hoping for a kite-fight at the festival. In Guatemala we coat crushed glass on our kite strings and battle it out on the grounds against other flyers, but I hear that won’t be happening in Singapore. I will nevertheless be on the lookout for kites from other ASEAN countries.

Apart from showcasing at the festivals, do you have any other plans in Singapore?

Yes, I would like to sample the local food which I hear is very good.

Future plans? 

I will be participating in several festivals this year, in India, Canada and back in Guatemala as well, but first I will be helping by daughter (aged 2yrs and 8months) participate in her first kite festival

Watch the grand Guatemalan kites, and kite master Julio Roberto Asturias Chiquitó in action on the 8 and 9 September, between 4– 8pm.