Picturing Paradise: Cuadros by the Peruvian Women of the Pamplona Alta as Visions of Hope
Date of Exhibit: January 2009 – March 2009
Reception: February 8, 2009
Picturing Paradise is an exhibition featuring embroidered and appliquéd fabric pictures called cuadros, created by women of Compacto Humano and Manos Ancashinas, two art cooperatives located in Pamplona Alta, a shantytown situated on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. The exhibition places emphasis on the women as artists and the way their art reflects a profound sense of resilience, spirituality, and hope despite the harsh conditions of their lives.
The exhibition is the result of three commissioned projects which took place over three separate fieldwork trips to Peru. Hopes and Dreams (January 2006), consists of fifteen cuadros and depicts each woman"s personal aspirations for herself, for her family or for the world. Inspirations and Motivations (January 2007) illustrates narratives about each woman"s life and the individuals and the communities that sustain her. ¿Quien soy yo? (Who am I?), the most recent project (July 2008), reflects each woman"s self-perception and at the same time, the interconnectedness of her life with others.
In conjunction with the exhibit, and in celebration of International Women"s Day, a symposium called Threads That Bind was held on Sunday, March 8, 4:30-6:30 p.m. A panel of presenters spoke on the diverse expressions of women"s textiles from representative regions of the world and the evidence of spirituality manifested through these textiles by women in their Threads That Bind.
After two months at the Dominican School Gallery (January 26-March 20), Picturing Paradise moved on to the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary where it was on display from April 7 - May 17.
In June 2009, GTU doctoral student and curator of the exhibit, Rebecca Berru Davis was in Lima, Peru doing research and fieldwork. While there, the exhibit was displayed at the Miraflores Community Gallery (June 5-7). This was carried out with the help of Fundades and ConVida, two organizations who collaborate in assisting the women. During its three day venue, over 600 persons viewed the exhibit. The women artists from the shantytown of Pamplona Alta were honored at the opening reception held on Friday evening, June 5.
Picturing Paradise was also exhibited at Chabot Community College Gallery in Hayward, California from October 8- November 5, 2009. The opening reception was scheduled for the evening of October 8 from 5-7pm.
Rebecca Berru Davis, exhibit curator
Rebecca Berru Davis is in her third year of theological studies in the area of Art and Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Rebecca is interested in the intersection of art, faith, and justice as a way to understand the spiritual and religious expressions of those located on the margins of society. Her research is focused on women, particularly Latin American and Latina women"s creative activity evidenced in the home, the church and the community. With over 25 years of teaching experience as an art specialist in schools and in museums, she has developed and taught multicultural art courses as a way to generate appreciation of diverse expressions of art forms, and in the process raise awareness of social and economic conditions at home and abroad.
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