|Weavers of the Clouds brings the captivating designs of Peru to the UK, showcasing some of the world’s oldest and most colourful art and textiles. Peru has a world-renowned heritage of fibre arts and costumes, from a lineage that dates back thousands of years. Weavers of the Clouds examines the vibrant applied crafts, heritage and traditions of Peru, celebrating the culture and customs of the artisan and their influence on design, fashion and beyond. |
This fabulous exhibition features rarely seen objects from private collections and national museums, including the Museo de la Nación, Museo de Arte, Museo Nacional de la Cultura Peruana in Lima and the British Museum in London, including full costumes, tapestries, adornments, trimmings and accessories. Highlights include a 16th century Quipu – knotted fibres that were traditionally used by the Incas as a form of communication – and a four cornered hat, dating from 600 AD. Also on display; a rare pre-Hispanic tunic created in orange, yellow and blue macaw feathers, a sequined and embroidered waistcoat, emblazoned with birds and flowers and a Shipibo costume from the Amazon Rainforest, embroidered to reflect the astrological map.
Tapestries and weaving from a private collection include a ceremonial tunic created using a Scaffold weave, one of the most unusual weaving techniques in the world, previously existing only in the Andean region of South America. Despite dating to 800 AD, the influence of these techniques can be seen across hundreds of years and in the works of many great designers, including the Bauhaus and Anni Albers. These incredible costumes and textiles are complemented by a selection of varied and engaging paintings, photographs and illustrations.
Images by highly influential photographer Martin Chambi and paintings by Indigenista Peruana, a group of painters who were active in Lima from the 1890s – 1940s – are accompanied by finely drawn paintings by Pancho Fierro and Francisco Javier Cortés. A further selection of vibrant watercolours by Francisco Gonzaláz Gamarra’s, are on show for the very first time, illustrating and celebrating traditional costume.
The Museum’s Mezzanine gallery features contemporary Peruvian designers, including Meche Correa, Chiara Macchiavello and Mozhdeh Matin, while the foyer hosts garments by prominent modern brands; KUNA and Peruvian Connection. These designers work with the numerous traditional techniques still practised in communities today, including embroidery, hand woven trimming, appliqué, crochet and knitwear – celebrating the traditional skills unique to Peru. This encourages the sustainability and continuation of these master crafts that are otherwise at risk of disappearing in a fast-moving world.
Finally, The Fashion Studio hosts a display curated by Claudia Trosso and supported by award-winning Peruvian restaurateur and chef, Martin Morales, exploring the work of 15 contemporary Peruvian artists and makers. These ground breaking artists combine the patience and skill of traditional techniques with contemporary materials such as nylon, copper, wire, photographic paper and thread.
Encompassing many different mediums and dimensions, Weavers of the Clouds celebrates Peru’s incredible history of traditions and skills, taking us on a cultural journey from the country’s rich past, to the vibrant modernity of its contemporary arts.
Sponsors: Weavers of the Clouds: Textile Arts of Peru is supported by KUNA and Peruvian Connection
Exhibition runs until the 8th September 2019 Fashion & Textile Museum London
Review: Juliet Bawden