Ropa Blanca / White Clothing 2018

Ropa Blanca / White Clothing 2018

I will follow mysterious cotton blankets found in caves wrapping mummies. Theses mummies belonged to the Guane people, an indigenous group from Colombia.  I grew up surrounded by the mountains where these caves-cemeteries were found. As a child, I heard about these archeological finds but I never really saw any of them. Later on, when I became an adult and an artist I decided to research about these renowned blankets and is where the story started.

Unproductiveness / Improductividad

Embroidery on hand-craft cotton textile, 32″ x 51″, 2018 / Bordado sobre lienzo de algodón artesanal, 83 cm x 130 cm, 2108

*It is a quote from Memorias de Hacienda, 1847, Florentino Gonzalez, State Secretary for the Treasury Desk of the Nueva Granada Government (today it is Colombia) This quote was found in the article “Santander, el algodón y los tejidos del siglo XIX” by Pierre Raymond, Ph.D., and published in Revista Credencial, 2015.

Wrapped, Covered / Envuelto, revestido y recubierto 

Inkjet print on semi – gloss paper, (2) x 41” x 61”, 2018 / Impresión inkjet sobre papel semi-brillante, (2) x 105 cm x 155 cm, 2018

White Clothing / Ropa blanca

Installation, hand-crafted cotton textile, stop-motion animation, sublimation on textile, dimensions variable, 2018 / Instalación, textile artesanal de algodón, animación stop-motion, sublimación sobre textil, dimensiones variables, 2018

Yarn / Madeja, stop-motion animation, 2018
Spinner / Hilandera, stop-motion animation, 2’02”, 2018

Second Skin Performance / Performance Segunda piel

The garments tracing the surface of the body are often considered to be second skins, and the patterns covering them always say something about the wearer.

Bradley Quinn
Second Skin / Segunda piel, performance, 3′ 23″, 2018
Dancer: Camila Silva, music and composition: Carolina Silva

ROPA BLANCA

Ropa Blanca is an art project that imparts the story of a cotton textile created by the indigenous Guane people in the northeast region of the Colombian Andes, who were the originators of this ancestral technique.

The manufacture of Guane blankets, exquisitely woven and decorated for funeral rituals, was considered an unproductive activity by the colonial powers who imposed  a European  system of slavery and exploitation that denigrated Indigenous practices. The white linen made with cotton canvas, used by the indigenous and dispossessed peasants, became a social code that identified the poor.

Knowledge of the fabric faded over time, with only a few vestiges of the technique remaining in the cultivation, spinning, and weaving of cotton still carried on by some rural women of the region, who use the fabric to strain the pulp to make guava jelly candy.

This ancestral  textile  technique resists its own disappearance by taking refuge in the hands of rural  women. In Ropa Blanca, this textile represents the history of a culture that refuses to be forgotten.

Acknowledgments:

I would like to thank and acknowledge the weavers and members from CORPOLIENZO in Charalá, Colombia, who in 2007 opened their weaving studio and shared their knowledge with me. This project came to life 11 years later. First, in 2007 it was an attempt of a documentary, and then, in 2018 became a visual arts project. I was able to buy their textiles and incorporate them into Ropa Blanca Project.

Reconocimientos:

Quiero agradecer y reconocer a las tejedoras y miembros de CORPOLIENZO en Charalá, Colombia, quienes en el 2007 abrieron su taller de tejido y compartieron su conocimiento conmigo. Este proyecto finalmente se consolida 11 años después. Primero en el 2007 intentó ser un documental y después en el 2018 se materializó en un proyecto de artes plásticas. Fue posible comprar sus textiles e incorporarlos en el proyecto Ropa Blanca.