An exhibit of cuadros — fabric narratives from Peru — will offer cultural and social commentary on many levels when it is shown at Rocky Mountain College’s Ryniker-Morrison Gallery from Aug. 29 through Sept. 25.
The exhibit, titled “Crafting Change Through Cloth and Community,” features 35 hand-stitched cuadros created by women of Pamplona Alta, a shantytown of Lima, Peru.
Curator Rebecca Berru-Davis said the exhibit should inspire viewers to ask questions.
“What internal and spiritual resources are the women drawing from in order to create this work? How does beauty persists in such challenging conditions?” Berru-Davis said.
One answer, she said, is their vision of a just and hopeful world, a paradise. Women throughout the world who have experienced trauma, turn to cloth to tell their stories. The stories that they sew or wear testify to their faith in community.
The women of Pamplona Alta formed cooperatives such as Compacto Humano (“the human compact”) and Manos Ancashinas (“hands of the neighborhood”) to sell the eloquent textiles they create. Their worldview lets them celebrate beauty that they may not see in their own neighborhood.
The exhibit emphasizes and reflects the Peruvian women’s creativity, ingenuity and agency. The fabric pictures show colorful and detailed narratives depicting memories and events that shape the women’s lives.
Their personal stories stitched in cloth are testimony to their dedication to their families, activism in their communities and commitment to beauty that persists even in challenging conditions.
The gallery at Rocky is the first venue for this newly curated exhibit.