4 September 2020, 4-5pm BST, Cultural Identity & Appropriation with Access Links
CULTURAL IDENTITY & APPROPRIATION
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Porfirio, Rita and Meghann discuss the importance of cultural identity and appropriation in the making and creating of textiles. All three speakers will present, followed by a discussion and questions.
Friday 4 September 2020, 4-5pm BST (British Summer Time, London, UK)
Virtual event, hosted on Zoom
Zoom link for the event:
Presentations and discussion with Porfirio Gutierrez (Mexico), Rita Nazareno (Philippines) and Meghann O'Brien (Canada)
Porfirio Gutiérrez was born and raised in the richly historic Zapotec textile community of Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico. His life’s work has been reinvigorating and preserving natural dyeing techniques, with a focus on reinterpreting traditional textiles and materials.
From an early age Porfirio began to learn the weaving and natural dyeing tradition from his parents. This early training forms the foundation for the fine art textiles that attract the attention of an ever-more international group of collectors.
Gutierrez’s work brings awareness to a profound spiritual belief that nature is a living being, sacred and honoured. The natural materials he employs in his work reflect that belief with a specific vocabulary of hues and textures. His studio revolves around the efforts of family and community, expressing an understanding and a vision that is deeply rooted to his Zapotec culture.
Porfirio is a tireless advocate, researcher and ambassador for the Zapotec community. He travels extensively, exhibiting his art, giving lectures and demonstrating his technique. The story of his art practice has been published in The New York Times and other major print media. Porfirio has been featured on a PBS arts series and has produced a documentary funded by the Smithsonian Institute.
In 2015 Gutiérrez was chosen by the Smithsonian Institute to be one of only four artists in the Western hemisphere to participate in their prestigious Artist In Leadership Program. A selection of the Gutiérrez family’s dye materials was documented and added to Harvard Art Museums’ Forbes Pigment Collection, the world-renowned archive of artist materials. His vision is to educate and share the rich textile arts of his culture while sustaining traditional practices for future generations.
Manila based company Zacarias1925 is the genius of Rita Nazareno, creating bags like no others you have seen. Exquisite artworks in their own right that can sit equally well on your hip or on your shelf. These pieces have a deeply modern aesthetic yet are steeped in a tradition of hand basket weaving and made exclusively at a workshop founded by Nazareno's grandmother in 1925. The company was originally known for embroidery made from pineapple fibres and a range of various handmade items. The line of matriarchs running the business was continued by Rita's mother, an only child, took over and focused specifically on bags. This was a fortuitous suggestion made by a Japanese client; that they apply the intricacy of their weaving skills exclusively to bags. The S.C.Vizcarra brand still operates today as, quite literally, the mother company making bags of a more classic design.
Meghann O’Brien lives in British Columbia, where she creates miniature baskets made of yellow cedar bark, and textiles in the Ravens Tail and Chilkat style traditions. Her journey to become a weaver started in 2007 with a strict traditional apprenticeship with the weavers Kerri Dick, Sherri Dick, and William White. In her work she explores notions of time, space, genetic identity, and the true meanings and origins of Northwest Coast art. Her work also explores the notion of weaving as a gift from the plant and animal spirits, rather than an object or form conceived of by the human mind. The weaving art forms that she and her mentors work with are ancient practices developed by their ancestors from the northern section of the British Columbia coastline. Indigenous peoples created textiles with these techniques, and used the resulting garments as ceremonial regalia that were worn by high ranking chiefs and matriarchs amongst the Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw. The techniques used to create them are unique in the world of weaving, especially with Chilkat. Chilkat weaving is an incredibly complex weaving technique. It is unique in that the artist can create curvilinear and circular forms within the weave itself. A Chilkat blanket can take a year to weave.