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Tradition Today

Crafting Memory: The Art of Community in Peru

Qarla Quispe Huamani Polleras (Skirts), Lima, Peru, 2017 Synthetic fabric, cotton, paper, plastic. Museum of International Folk Art, IFAF Collection, FA.2017.74.1-6.

The Museum of International Folk Art unveils Crafting Memory: The Art of Community in Peru, an important exhibition of contemporary folk art that expresses political, economic, and environmental ideas and uses memory and heritage to forge the future.

Crafting Memory presents examples of traditional Peruvian weaving, textiles, retablo-making, and silversmithing — reinterpreted for the 21st Century. The exhibition opens Sunday, December 3 and runs through March 10, 2019.

“When we look at folk arts from Peru, we may imagine them springing from traditional life — small communities insulated from a frantic world, where change occurs very slowly and the daily pace is set by agricultural cycles,” says Amy Groleau, Ph.D., MOIFA’s curator of Latin American Folk Art and the curator Crafting Memory. “While this is sometimes the case, it is becoming increasingly rare. In fact, much of today’s Peruvian folk art is emerging from its urban centers.”

“Crafting Memory offers new avenues for thinking about Peruvian folk art for our visitors and scholars alike,” says Khristaan Villela, Ph.D., MOIFA director. “The exhibition exemplifies perfectly the museum’s commitment to reframing the discourse around past and living traditions worldwide.”

Some of the works on view address Peru’s “time of violence,” the two decades (1980–2000) that saw the armed conflict between the Maoist revolutionary movement Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and the government’s military forces. While it considers a legacy of violence, Crafting Memory expresses hopefulness via the living folk art traditions that focus not on yesterday’s problems, but on today’s solutions.

The exhibit combines recent works with historic examples from MOIFA’s collection. It includes folk art from urban centers such as Lima — including contemporary adaptations of familiar articles of Peruvian clothing such as the pollera (Andean gathered skirt) and the chullo (men’s traditional knit hat with pom-poms and ear flaps) that marry traditional attire with contemporary fashion or sculpture.

“What’s exciting is that this exhibition demonstrates the ways in which people have used folk arts to overcome adversity and strengthen community,” says Groleau. “Crafting Memory examines how the arts bring people together by making their shared stories and memories tangible.”

The Museum of International Folk Art is open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Admission $7 for New Mexico residents with ID. $12 for non-residents, free for children 6 and under. The first Sunday of each month is free for New Mexico residents with ID. Wednesdays are free for New Mexico resident seniors (60+) with ID.

The Museum of International Folk Art encourages educational class tours with or without a docent. For the past 25 years, MOIFA has served many Santa Fe public schools with Folk Art to Go!

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