PICTURING PARADISE: CUADROS FROM THE PERUVIAN WOMEN OF PAMPLONA ALTA is sponsored by ConVida. Cuadros are embroidered and appliquéd fabric pictures created by women artists of Compacto Humano and Manos Ancashinas, two art cooperatives located in Pamplona Alta, a shantytown situated on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. This research project, which in part has evolved into an exhibition, features the work of these women, placing emphasis on them as artists and the way their art reflects creativity, resilience, and hope despite the harsh conditions of their lives. Through the Cuadros, the women’s personal stories are visually expressed, highlighting memories of their past lives and the realities of their present experiences. While documenting the art and the women’s stories has been an ongoing ethnographic project since 2006, the exhibition which continues to circulate throughout the United States (and other countries), directs attention to the women’s “voices” and insights, illuminating their message of hope and vision of a world they desire to shape.
The exhibit is curated to engage viewers in multiple ways. The fabric pictures are exemplary works of art, skillfully executed, colorful, and intricately detailed. The themes depicted in the Cuadros range from pastoral village landscapes to depictions of the women’s involvement in urban protests, advocating for their children’s health and education. In all cases, the women represent themselves as active agents participating in the “work at hand.” The accompanying text and contextual photographs included in this exhibit draw viewers into the reality of life for these women artists. In sum, the women’s voices and their art become an entry for encounter, reflection, and an awareness of our distinct places in the world and what hopes and dreams we share in common.
Additional Note: This is an activist project that also makes available additional Cuadros for sale (priced between $20 and $100) to those viewers interested. Proceeds from the sales of Cuadros as well as the exhibit rental fee are sent directly to the women artists. Thus, the exhibit is also a means to help support the women artists and their families.
December 15, 2019 – March 15, 2020: Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls
April 1 – July 1, 2020: MonDak Heritage Center, Sidney
September 15 – November 15, 2020: Hockaday Museum of Art, Kalispell