A large scale exhibition of my work is scheduled for Sept 2010 at MACLA, Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latinoamericana, in San Jose during the Zero1 Biennial. MACLA has allowed me to use the exhibition to showcase (and kickstart) collaborative works with artisans—and for the first time in my art career, allow me to become a catalyst for social change through the creation of craft.
The Chiapas Project, shown below, will serve as Phase 1 of a longer-planned relationship with artisans worldwide, helping to provide dignified wages and setting up new modes of sustaining traditions—the creation of Artists Helping Artisans (AHA!).

For more information on the Chiapas Project and the creation of AHA! please see bottom "Project Info" section.

Tanya AguiƱiga

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

we made it!!!

I was initially drawn to Chiapas for the indigenous communities whose craft traditions vary from town to town. As the Mexican state with the largest indigenous population, nearly 1/3 of the inhabitants are of Mayan descent, they have been able to hold on to their indigenous identity longer than other regions. Their history of strife and unrest to maintain their indigenous sovereignty, have helped and hindered their preservation of traditional craft.

The predominant craft forms in Chiapas are textiles. Each town wears a distinctly different outfit that is hand woven on a backstrap loom and embroidered. San Cristobal de las Casas is the Mexican city with the largest indigenous population, and it is where people from all of the surrounding towns come to sell their handmade goods. The surrounding community of Chamula, holds the largest population of indigenous people in North America.

We are looking forward to exploring the communities, learning, and sharing with you, the different traditions of each town and helping to bring attention to the crafts of each region.

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