MY BED IS A GARDEN - MI CAMA ES UN JARDÍN
The textiles of the women of Argentina’s dry forest
July 3rd / November 8th, 2020
Free entry without reservation
The exhibition "My bed is a garden - Mi cama es un jardín. The textiles of the women of Argentina’s dry forest (Santiago del Estero, Argentina), by Carolina Orsini, senior curator of MUDEC (Museum of Cultures), offers the visitor an overview of the textile production of the Argentine monte through a selection of bed covers from the private collection of Andreina Rocca Bassetti, donated to MUDEC in 2016.
The Santiago del Estero area boasts a millennial culture that dates back to the pre-Hispanic past and which has been preserved, with changes and innovations, until the new millennium. This cultural richness is punctually reflected in the material production of the area and in particular in textiles. Their portability and their visual appeal make these products a real icon of values and knowledge that are carried out by local female weavers, extraordinary artists who have always known how to innovate and modernize this tradition.
The fabrics of Santiago are the testimony of how women have been able to develop a great cultural resilience by combining traditional elements with modernity. In the fabrics, the external cultural are assimilates and shaped so to fit the local cultural needs.
The exhibition is accompanied by a film / documentary dedicated to the memory of Bern Paz (1931-2020), the last great female weaver of the old generation of the huarmis sachamanta (women of the monte). The film is the result of a fieldwork carried out by MUDEC researchers and director Federico Ferrario in Santiago del Estero in July 2019, supported by the generous contribution from the Sumampa/Adobe cultural association.
The fieldwork had the purpose of documenting the life, thoughts and gestures of the Santiago female weavers, many of whom are over ninety, in an attempt to rescue theirs memories and pass it on to posterity. From the 23 interviews in Quimili Paso (Avellaneda department) and in 3 other departments of the province of Santiago (Atamisqui, Añatuya and Loreto) and from the conversations with the scholar Ruth Concuera, we learn not only the techniques of weaving, but also its social and economic function in the recent past and in modernity.
Having become fashionable at the end of the 80s, the historical fabrics (XIX - XX century) of Santiago del Estero are now mostly collected in private collections without provenance documentation. In line with Mudec's policy of conserving knowledge, the fieldwork and the documentary that followed seemed an urgent need to grasp, from the voice of the protagonists, the secrets of the Santiago de Estero fabrics.