I arrived in Davis, California in 1976 and as it turns out, being too young in the 1960’s made me miss out on most of the hippie macramé curtains and tie-dyed shirts, although I still have the book, “Quilting, Patchwork, Appliqué, and Trapunto” by Thelma R. Newman, which I got for Christmas. Now in plain 21st century, I didn’t easily recognize a renaissance of the same campy elements and political thinking that characterized the 60’s, which might have to do with a change of era and its sociopolitical repercussions—just as it did back then. No need to remain hippie, however, because nowadays this artistic language goes by the label Decolonial Art since it emphasizes in questioning the so-called hegemonic culture.
Last year I saw an article in the local paper about Costa Rican artist, Alejandra Gutiérrez winning Special Award at the 4th Latvia Triennial of Fiber and Textile Art, with a huge Wonderbra measuring 165 x 220cm (5.4 x 7 feet). Her message was clearly political and clearly feminist in a Latin American world of macho dominance and social by-standards, and very fitting within other contexts throughout the world. From the textile point of view, however, what really caught my eye was the seemingly clumsy or bungled way of arranging otherwise fine elements…as if the piece was actually intended to convey two messages instead of one. It wasn’t until this week that I came to recognize the 1960’s style in Alejandra’s work, which can be camp, pop, “low” or whatever new twist may be resorted to in order to make her art transcend.
Alejandra is very successful in creating a social structure through textiles, and dedicating her vast artistic creation to empower herself as well as the lives of other women around her. Her themes deal with the effects of gender disparity and social critique in today’s society. Curator Marcela Valdeavellano explains: “…she strives to make art that asks us to reconsider the significance of both image and context, which may provide new understanding of how the two collide to shape our culture.”
“… MON 810 protests a species of transgenic corn, which belongs to the technology called Terminator, which causes transgenic seeds to become sterile. This property will radically alter traditional methods of agricultural production in benefit of corporations, in obvious detriment of our traditional agriculture where corn is a staple…”
“… The society of show business has permeated our lives and now we no longer know what is true and what is Hollywood celluloid…”
A Scholar at the International Textile and Apparel Association in California, USA, Alejandra is one of the two Latin American artists who were finalists in the above mentioned Latvia Triennial, being the only Central American who has earned this distinction.
In 2009, the Cajías Cultural Foundation in La Paz, Bolivia acquired her work MON 810, selected for the SIART Biennial of Art, Bolivia. On that same year she won the Acquisition Prize by the Helmspark Gallerie for her tapestry, in which she refers to the issue of breast cancer.
In April 2010, Alejandra was also a finalist in the contest by the late Fiberarts Magazine and VISART Arts Center, Maryland, USA, “Wearable and Unwearable Art,” participating with an evening bag built with movie strips from the 1960’s, which she named “Movie Star”.Contact: +506 2228-5522 atelier – +506 8882-2727 mobile P.O Box 1525-1250, San José, Costa Rica firstname.lastname@example.org blog: tejolavida.wordpress.com