In the WheatonArts Down Jersey Folklife Center, this exhibition provides a visual comparison between traditional textiles of two indigenous communities of Latin America—the Chilean Mapuche people and the Guatemalan Maya. Both Mapuche and Maya artists create artworks about identity and cultural heritage in a modern interconnected world, weaving ancestral knowledge and wisdom into present-day ways of life. The story of the spider who taught the first woman how to weave in the mythological past is present in both cultures. Many designs and motifs are interpreted in similar ways. However, the creative process reflects differences in techniques and materials employed in the two different geographic regions. Revealed in the exhibition are the complex characters of Mapuche and Mayan garments with weaving patterns interpreted in the context of a broad spectrum of regional, social, ritual, and aesthetic meanings and viewed from the perspective of our shared humanity.
The exhibition also features Chilean horsehair (crin) miniatures of religious and secular objects—flowers, animals, or human figures—that aim to engage viewers in a conversation about the dynamics of living traditions over time, their social, artistic, and ritual messages conveyed by the artworks and by the nature of the creative process. For current hours, tickets, and visitor guidelines, visit https://www.wheatonarts.org/tickets/
Developed in partnership with the Embassy of Chile to the United States, the Foundation of the Folk and Traditional Artists in Chile, the “Friends of the Ixchel Museum” (FOIM), and local collectors and artists.