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Artists take inspiration from the female weavers of south America.
8:30am Monday 26th March 2012 in Features
THE Andean weaving tradition has been passed down from mother to daughter for thousands of years.
And now this ancient South American artform has been explored in an exhibition at the Firstsite gallery in Colchester.
Unravelling Threads features a collection of artists who have been inspired by issues of textile production by the indigenous women in the Andean region.
All the work on show at Firstsite was leant to the gallery from the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) at the University of Essex.
The Andean region, which comprises of countries Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, still has a strong tradition of weaving.
The ancient weaving techniques did not die out with the arrival of the Spanish and the end of the Incan Empire and skilled weavers continue to weave much in the same manner as their ancestors.
“Andean textiles were used to convey information stored in patterns to document and communicate information.Curator Valeria Paz Moscoso
Curator Valeria Paz Moscoso, from ESCALA, says: “Weaving in the Andean region is a female legacy. It is the women who weave and the skill is passed on from mother to daughter.
“The daughter will start of with simple techniques which become more complex as she gets older. The best weavers are consider the best women and a female will prove her womanhood and whether she is ready to marry through her weaving.”
Valeria explains that the exhibition has taken the concept of weaving further.
She says: “Andean textiles were used to convey information stored in patterns to document and communicate information.
“The artists in the exhibition have used different ideas and techniques to explore relevant issues that affect the indigenous people in the Andean region today.”
Visual artist Aruma-Sandra De Berduccy was born in Bolivia and has spent over ten years learning Andean traditional techniques.
Her artwork incorporates the techniques of weaving along with photography, video art, cinema and installations.
Aruma, says: “I started my research in my grandma’s place of birth in the Capinota a valley in Cochabamba where I learned the most basic principles of Andean traditional weavings.
“After that I moved to live in to the Aymaran zone and later I had the opportunity to know the Mayan textile culture and develop a research about natural dyed in Guatemala in 2004. At the same time my artwork was a combination of weavings and paintings.”
Aruma’s work, Currency, explores the relationship between weaving and money in Bolvia.
“I used a series of bolivianos (Bolivian currency) from one to 1,000 in banknotes and alpaca and sheep fibres. The notes are traded like a cotton fibre and weaved with the traditional textile techniques.
“The reason that I had to use Bolivian money is to show the inefficiency of the monetary system in Bolivia today.”
Unravelling Threads will run at the Firstsite Gallery in Colchester until Sunday 17 April. Visit www.firstsite.uk.net or call 01206 577067 for details.