This ancient technique of weaving is extinct in many parts of South America – especially where I was born, in Argentina. One of the main reasons is because it takes TIME, a lot of time, and time is what this new world apparently doesn’t have. Also, people in rural communities are often forced to move to big cities for work because weaving in their homes is usually unprofitable. These three facts became clear to us as soon as we arrived in this hidden and often forgotten world.
Sad reality of many forgotten areas of Argentina, the lack of drinkable water.
A world of older times, filled with identity and truth. Truth is what you see in the people’s eyes. A silent tradition that needs to start talking so as to survive.
The first two feelings we had when we met the weavers were admiration and recognition. We couldn’t talk much, just contemplate their art, their ways, their life.
Admire their hands, those silent hands that spin, twist, dye and weave every day, under the shade of an algarrobo tree. Those weaving looms that have lived in their backyards for longer than memory can recall.
We got lost: physically lost, mentally lost… It is a vast, immense region, with many trails that lead to nowhere. In many of these communities, there are no fences; land belongs to no one. Houses made of adobe with no flooring but earth. No pure water, no electricity, and often no cars.
In these places, Pachamama (Mother Earth) rules. The textiles they make are touched by her, as most parts of the process are related to her generosity. I found it really interesting to observe how they pay tribute to her, their devotion. Tales and stories travel through the generations, carrying their beliefs with them. Many of the stories teach us more than we could ever learn at school.
These weavers, are artists in all forms of living, how they manage themselves to live a everyday life in connection with nature. They have that simple beauty of being who they are (and they don’t want to become anything else), they are proud of their own traditions.
This was the moment when we realized we could not only bring these woven textiles from Argentina to Australia, but in doing so we could help rural and indigenous communities by helping to empower them and their art.
That first trip was when our motto was born: “We explore art. We preserve heritage. We empower culture.”
This was a moment of pure truth. We were touched by the ways of living that we saw, and people’s creativity. A moment that changed our perspective towards the respect we must show to those who live by their folklore, trusting their heritage and hoping to preserve it for generations to come.
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