Weaving in Community
April 5 - June 15, 2024
Intertwined: Weaving in Community considers ways artists have used traditional weaving as social practice and a platform for activism. The exhibition features artwork by Portland-based artist Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos), Los Angeles-based artist Tanya Aguiñiga, and AMBOS (Art Made Between Opposite Sides), a collective Aguiñiga founded in 2016.
Artist Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos) has created a self-sustaining weaving program for the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw people. Siestreem is an activist who uses the practice and teaching of traditional Native weaving to preserve Indigenous knowledge while healing communities and the relationship between humans and the environment. The exhibition includes a newly commissioned sculpture made from ceramic, fiber, and a variety of natural and humanmade materials, as well as woven, 3-D printed, and cast ceramic baskets. Also a painter and printmaker, Siestreem makes large-scale works on paper and board covered with patterns, marks, and imagery related to her weaving practice and activism.
Tanya Aguiñiga was born in San Diego, California, and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. Her experiences as a binational citizen who crossed the border daily for school inform her approach to textiles and other forms of craft. Drawing on Mesoamerican and Indigenous Andean weaving traditions, Aguiñiga makes sculptures that are radically contemporary. Often, these sculptures reference the human body, including terracotta hands or other body parts, or synthetic hair. She thinks of some of them as portraits—woven figures, sometimes interconnected like networks of family or friends.
Aguiñiga, artist Natalie Godinez, and other members of the collective AMBOS are working with SVMoA to develop a community-based fiber artwork in the Wood River Valley. The artwork will emerge from workshops held with community partners in Tijuana, Bellevue, and Hailey and will grow over the exhibition as visitors add to it, incorporating their handwork and stories into the project. The exhibition also includes AMBOS’s Border Quipu/Quipu Fronterizo, an enormous sculptural fiber work made by thousands of participants on both sides of the US-Mexico border between 2016 and 2018. Inspired by Andean pre-Columbian quipus, systems of knotted strings used to store information and knowledge, the Border Quipu allowed participants to share their own stories of life on the border.