Ana Teresa Barboza Gubo, Suspension 2, embroidered on fabric and woven in thread 85x60cm, 2013. Photo source:

12 Latin American contemporary artists who use embroidery in their art practice.

A kaleidoscopic overview of contemporary embroidery practices in Latin America—a traditional and gendered craft that is innovatively used by contemporary artists.   

An introduction to this niche creative scene and insight into exceptionally creative ways that integrate stitching with other forms of art: performance, installation, drawing, and photography. 

Latin American artists explore the medium of embroidery, pushing its boundaries and testing the limits of its application. Their motivations and reasons for using the art form vary widely. Some are intrigued and drawn to its traditional aspects, its connection to gendered social practices, luxury, decorative facets, folk, and indigenous craft. Others are interested in the physicality of threads and supports used in embroidery, investigating fibres and textiles to make conscious and aesthetic choices in their work.

A few substitute conventional threads with metal or plastic wires and traditional textiles with materials such as paper or rocks. The majority of these artists underline that embroidery requires time, focus, and planning; long hours of solitary work that helps in meditation, self-exploration, and contemplation of the external world. For them, the meticulous nature of embroidery is an integral part of the aesthetic they aim to achieve. In contrast, some artists rely on artisan or indigenous tradition, collaborating with craftsmen and women to produce bigger scale art-pieces or invite them to participate in performances. 

To delve deeper into how Latin American artists explore, transform, and develop their practices with embroidery, explore our guide highlighting the 12 most important creatives from the region. 

Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval,
1917-1967, Chile

I want my name to grow to be stronger and more important to better defend my people. To fight against the bourgeoisie you have to be strong, and I want to return to Chile with a new engine. If it were just about domestic problems, everything would be very simple, but there is a country that awaits my work and yours.”

Violeta Parra, source: Los Amigos de Cervantes
Violeta Parra, source: Los Amigos de Cervantes

A multi-talented artist, Violeta Parra excelled as a singer, songwriter, poet, composer, painter, sculptor, and embroiderer. Although Parra is mostly known for her music career, she also engaged in painting, creating paper -mache sculptures, and crafting large-scale arpilleras through embroidery. With her roots in a humble background, she lifted herself out of extreme poverty by singing popular songs from Latin America, including Mexican rancheros and Cuban boleros. Eventually, she delved into the exploration of Chilean ethnic and folk music, performing and composing a new repertoire. Throughout her lifetime Parra garnered national and international acclaim, taking her poem songs to Europe and locally, across the region. Tragically, she took her own life in 1967. 

In 1964, Parra’s textile works were exhibited at the Design Museum located in Louvre, Paris, marking her as the first Latin American artist to be featured there. More recently, her art found a place in “The Milk of Dreams” exhibition, a significant showcase at the 2022 Venice Biennale curated by Cecilia Alemani. 

A self-taught creator and intuitive creator, Parra did not sketch nor design her works. She began working with embroidery in 1959 during an illness that confined her to bed, and again in 1963, when her health debilitated significantly one more time. Making arpilleras from brightly decorated burlap or repurposed materials, she produced large scale visual translations of allegoric scenes, poems, and stories. Whilst complex in elements and composition, the stitches used by Parra were basic—thick wool, bits of macramé, and knitted braid created an illusion of three-dimensionality and movement.

Employing precarious and accessible materials, inspired by pre-Hispanic and ethnic embroidery traditions, Parra developed her unique style and visual language. Her art touched on historical and popular themes, blending contemporary reality with mythological elements. Her paintings and textiles offered a progressive and idealist version of Chilean society and politics. Colourful, expressive, and symbolic in nature, they addressed scenes from the conquest and Spaniards’ war against natives as well as strikes, dances, and music performances. At times, Violeta portrayed herself in the paintings, incorporating the colour purple. This choice is significant, as “violeta” translates to purple in Spanish.

Ana Linnemann
born in 1958, Brazil

My work’s existence is conditional upon a sort of a melting point, one in which meanings behave as if in a liquid state. The idea is always to adjust, within a single object, elements coming from unrelated fields of experience – such as my favourite pair of sneakers and slicing a potato – and to juggle the identity issues which this interplay engenders. Thus, by removing the viewer from the comfort of habit, to create an estrangement from everyday objects and activities.”

Ana Linnemann.
Ana Linnemann.

Ana Linneman is a Brazilian artist born and based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She pursued studies in applied design and visual art, both in Brazil and in the United States. Her approach reflects the influences of minimalism, nao-objeto theory, and Gestalt psychology. Linnemann’s practice revolves around the manipulation of ready-mades, involving processes of manipulation, deconstruction, reconstruction, and recomposition. Her aesthetics focus on the inherent properties of things and the cognitive responses of the viewer. In her work, Linnemann extracts the conventional functions of the objects she uses to create new art pieces. At the same time, she plays with the expected and learned perception of basic objects. She deliberately twists and disturbs the conventional properties of these objects, rendering them useless and affecting the perception, experience, and senses of the viewer’s body within the physical reality.  Art critic Moacir dos Anjos describes Linnemann’s work as being “informed by a desire to pore carefully over many such things that inhabit the world, considering what is clearest about them and, simultaneously, what is that hides behind them (…).”

While Ana Linneman has engaged with embroidery and stitching, she approaches this medium unconventionally, astonishing the spectators with the use of unusual threads and materials. For instance, in 1997, she stitched together small, irregular alabaster rocks using copper wire, naming the series “Stone Lace.” In another series titled “XS,” she embroidered flowers (cross-stitch) onto the surfaces of larger stones. Represented by the gallery A Gentil Carioca, Ana received the prestigious CIFO Mid-Career Artist Award in 2019. Her works have been showcased at major institutions including SculptureCenter in New York, Centro Cultural Maria Antonia in São Paulo, Kunstforening Oslo, Imperial Museum of Petrópolis in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro’s Museum of Modern Art, Museo del Barrio in New York, and MALBA in Buenos Aires. 

Feliciano Centurión
1962-1996, Paraguay/Argentina

… the eclecticism of our reality, with its diversity of languages ​​and information, demands a greater commitment from us and allows us to take ownership of it with total freedom to be able to express ourselves. I assume it’s everyday, it’s banal, it’s ironic, it’s playful, it’s joy and it’s fun.”

Feliciano Centurión was a Paraguayan visual artist who spent the majority of his life in Argentina. Raised in a female-dominated household, he learned various crafts from his mother and grandmother. In 1974, his family fled political violence in Paraguay under the military dictatorship led by Alfredo Stroessner.

Centurión received formal art education from high school to master’s level, graduating from Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón and Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de la Nación Ernesto de la Carcova, both located in Buenos Aires. During the early 1990s, he played a significant role in the cultural circles of Buenos Aires, affiliated with Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas, and emerged as a leading artist advocating for a new aesthetic characterised by “light,” kitsch, banality, and intimacy. This approach served as a response to the political and social changes undergoing in Argentina after the military dictatorship collapsed in 1982. 

Initially, Centurión used conventional mediums, specialising in colourful, vibrant, expressionist fantasy and queer paintings that depicted homoerotic acts. However, in the late 1980s, he transitioned to using blankets as a non-traditional support and shifted his thematic focus to depict the flora and fauna of Paraguay. Following his diagnosis with HIV/AIDS, his art began to incorporate references to his mental and physical state, alongside expressions of hope for religious redemption and a need for love.

Centurión was known for creating work with soft fabrics, often embroidered and painted, including blankets, handkerchiefs, aprons, pillowcases, and tablecloths. He stitched diaristic, poetic, affective, or romantic texts onto these ready textiles. Described as having a “decorative, kitschy, feminised and decidedly queer aesthetic,” his works reflect his upbringing in a matriarchal Paraguayan household and referenced folk Gaurani material culture. He frequently applied the ñandutí technique, an intricate method og lave weaving  traditionally passed down from mother to daughter. The stitches were basic, decorative, and linear and the objects turned into intimate relics—valuable and precious reminders of fading life that someone cared for and loved. 

In recent times, Centurión’s art was showcased in exhibitions such as “Affective Affinities“ at the 33rd São Paulo Biennial in São Paulo (2018) and “Abrigo” at the Americas Society in New York (2020). His works were also included in international art fairs like the Armory Show, Frieze, and Art Basel. 

Teresa Margolles
born in 1963, Mexico

…our performances had a lot to do with Greek tragedies, where catharsis enveloped both the performer and the viewer. In that catharsis there was a liberation and a whole ritualistic process, even of steps; the rhythm was totally ritual; the installations are rituals.

Looking at the dead you see society.”

Teresa Margolles. Photo source: Wikipedia
Teresa Margolles. Photo source: Wikipedia

Teresa Margolles stands out as one of the most notorious and internationally recognized female artists from Latin America. As a conceptual visual artist, she delves into the social causes and consequences of death. Born in Culiacan, a northern border city of Mexico marked by the terror of smugglers, traffickers, and corrupt officials, Margolles pursued studies in art and forensic science at the well respected Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Working for several years at the morgue, she witnessed firsthand the surge in violent deaths during the nineties, a consequence of narcotrafficking, a failing state, and an economic crisis that fueled an increase in violent crimes. This experience led her to the realisation that not all deaths were equal and that the circumstances surrounding death reflected the state of society—and became widely evident in her art, spanning photography, video, textiles soaked in body fluids (sweat, blood), and even body parts. Margolles employs different materials to create purgative, shocking, horrifying, and disgusting installations or performances.

While her early work with the underground music group SEMEFO focused on death through gruesome images, her time at the city morgue, dealing with the bodies of victims of violence, those unable to afford a funeral, and the unrecognised and unclaimed, led her to a deeper social engagement. Her art is repelling yet deeply cathartic, applying abject aesthetics in performances and installations to denounce the catastrophic scope of violence driven by organised crime, gender-based discrimination, and homo- and transphobia.

Embroidery is a recurring element in her projects. Margolles turns to it for its basic traditional functions—embellishment, storytelling with symbols—and its connection to women and indigenous craft. 

At the 2009 Venice Biennale, her project “What Else Can We Talk About,” curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina, featured embroidery as part of a performance on the Venetian streets. Volunteers stitched narcomensajes with gold threads—messages left by cartels at crime scenes to terrorise communities: See, hear and silence. Thus finish the rats, Until all your children fall, So that they learn to respect.

She revisited embroidery to address feminicides and murders of transwomen in machista societies of Latin America. In Panama, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Brazil, she engaged in ritualistic, collective embroidery with indigenous (Aymara, Mayan) or pop symbols. One of these pieces was displayed in the national pavilion of Bolivia at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Local women collaborated with Margolles to decorate a blood-soaked textile with traditional Aymara embroidery, discussing their experiences of domestic violence, harassment, and discrimination during the process. The embellished textile was then exhibited in Venice.

Teresa Margolles strategically uses embroidery to convey care, respect, and affect toward human remains. Adorned textiles transform into shrouds and relics, serving as poignant reminders of the humanity of victims who did not experience a dignified burial. Through embroidery, Margolles prompts those who are alive to reject indifference and passivity.

Leo Chiachio and Daniel Giannone
born in 1969 and born in 1964, Argentina

Our work is a painting made with threads. When we embroider we have the same attitude we had when painting in the way we use colour and the exploration of the subject. We like to imagine we paint with needles. All our work is done by hand embroidery.”

Leo Chiachio & Daniel Giannone portrait of the artists. Photo source:
Leo Chiachio & Daniel Giannone portrait of the artists. Photo source:

“We are always trying to test the extreme limits of embroidery. We use all kinds of embroidery stitches: buttonhole stitch, chain stitch, blanket stitch, rope stitch, couching, cretan stitch, roman stitch, stem stitch raised band, raised lattice band, guilloche stitch, french knot, chinese knot, buttonhole Wheel, spider’s website, ribbed spider’s web, seed stitch, plaid filling stitch, Roumanian couching, blanket stitch, satin stitch, satin stitch encroaching, long and short stitch, surface darning, etc.”

Leo Chiachio and Daniel Giannone, a gay couple and creative duo, abandoned painting, a discipline they both studied, early in their careers and chose embroidery as their primary medium of artistic expression. Their work is housed in public and private collections worldwide, including the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art, Salt Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Emilio Caraffa Provincial Museum of Fine Arts. They have also participated in fairs such as Art Basel Miami with Ruth Benzacar and Cité International de la Tapisserie in Aubusson, France.

Rather than using brushes and paints, they paint with threads and needles. Their eclectic, vibrant, and colourful work blends figurative and abstract or decorative motifs. Typically opting for large formats, their pieces require planning, design, and a considerable amount of time for execution. Their visual language is crafty and conventionally beautiful, drawing inspiration from diverse visual cultures, including indigenous Guarani, Aymara, African, Japanese, and Chinese influences. The final aesthetic effect is intense and symbolically rich, featuring imaginative, surrealistic, magical, and often humorous scenes with abundant foliage, flowers, and a variety of wildlife. Their practice is collaborative, from the concept to execution. 

Frequently their art is inspired by canonical iconography—they “quote” works from other artists, including Violeta Parra’s “Contra la guerra,” Andrea Mantegna’s “St Sebastian,” Robert and Sonia Delaunay’s “Rhythms,” Piet Mondrian’s “Broadway Boogie Woogie,” and Constantin Brancusi’s “Endless column.” Their self-portraits are a recurring theme, often featuring their three miniature dachshunds aged 3 to 15 as central characters.

Employing humour as a tool, the artists question heteronormative perspectives on thinking and living. They openly portray intimacy, emotions, and the gay lifestyle positively within the context of Argentina’s evolving society, moving from conservatism and Catholicism towards a more open, progressive, and liberal mindset. Sometimes, they daringly depict themselves as representatives of native minorities, conquistadors, or generals in same-sex relationships, placing LGBT individuals at the forefront of both, Argentinian history and contemporaneity. 

While experimenting with ceramics and textile mosaics, they maintain consistency in themes and approach. Their loyalty to craftsmanship can be seen as a mission statement to transform traditional and canonical art forms through the application of mediums marginalised by the mainstream.

Carlos Arturo Arias Vicuña
born in 1964, Chile/Mexico

The thing about embroidery is that it is domestic and normalised. I don’t know why, perhaps because it is a textile, because it has to do with the materiality of the clothes, the tablecloths in the house, the blankets, the sheets. There is something in the history of the thread that makes it close to the public, whether they are teenagers or adults, middle class, working class, popular, intellectual, non-intellectual. It covers a much broader spectrum.”

Although embroidery is very slow, once you consider it you no longer have to think again: the brain begins to work mechanically and the reflection goes to a more personal, political, whatever you want. On the other hand, in painting this materiality that must be worked on is always present. You have to always be alert, as if you were a substitute actor who has to be available if the protagonist of the soap opera gets sick.”

Carlos Arturo Arias Vicuña, Portrait with the work. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Carlos Arturo Arias Vicuña, Portrait with the work. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Carlos Arias was born in Santiago de Chile in 1964. However, he and his family left the country at a young age following the military coup in 1974. He lived in Mexico from 1975 to 1983, after which he returned to Chile to pursue studies in fine arts. Subsequently, he went back to Mexico to complete a master’s degree at the UNAM in 1988. Currently, he serves as a professor in the fine arts department at the University of the Americas Puebla.

Arias started his career as a painter. Nevertheless, in the nineties, he made the decision to abandon painting and dedicate himself to embroidery. He approaches embroidery as he would painting, using simple, flat stitches that allow him to cover large areas of colour, eventually forming self-portraits. He emphasises the processual character of stitching, which demands time and commitment, setting it apart from other techniques. Additionally, he mentions that choosing a technique traditionally associated with lower original value and considered a female occupation is his way of subverting conventional patriarchal society and Western art classifications.

His art focuses on the critique of identity representation and gender issues in postcolonial Latin America. While often focusing on himself, his body, and his life as primary subjects, he also explores themes related to Chilean and Mexican heritage and history. Arias intertwines official narratives with personal memories and stories from minority groups, such as homosexuals, indigenous peoples, and rural communities.

Art critic Cuahtemoc Medina describes Arias’ embroidery as testimonies, functioning within the genre of chronicles. Works like Jornadas (1995-2021) or Lienzo de los Anonymous (2021-) are not just reflections on muralism or public art but draw inspiration from the mediaeval Bayeux Tapestry, showcasing an innovative quality as open works. Arias continuously adds to these pieces, documenting losses and decisive events, revealing how his work aligns with the unfolding of history.

Arias usually continues these works in relation to the record of losses and decisive events, in a constant indication of the way in which his work adheres to the sense of ‘development’ and ‘unfolding’ of history. This echo of taking notes of time is also the background of the other works that collects.” Carlos Arias has exhibited his works in museums and galleries both nationally and internationally. Notable exhibitions include Autorretratos en lo común (Common self-portraits) at the Textile Museum of Oaxaca (2014), El hombre al desnudo (Naked man) at the National Museum of Art (2014), Neo Mexicanismos (Neomexicanismo) at the Museum of Modern Art, Mexico (2011), and participation in events like the IV Biennale of Prague (2009) and La era de la discrepancia (The Era of Discrepancies) (2007-2008) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Museum of Latin American Art Buenos Aires (MALBA), and the Pinacoteca de São Paulo.

In 2015, a retrospective exhibition titled El hilo de la vida (The thread of life), covering over two decades of work, was presented at the Capilla de Arte in Puebla. This exhibition also travelled to the University Museum of Chopo, Mexico, in 2016. In 2019, Cuahtemoc Medina curated Arias’ first individual exhibition in Chile at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago. His works are part of the collections of the following institutions: Colección ESPAC, Colección Isabel y Agustín Coppel, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, México, Museo Tamayo,  The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, USA, The White factory, and Central Museum of Textiles, Łodz, Poland.

Fábio Carvalho
born in 1965, Brazil

My work will always have overlapping stereotypes of virility, of masculinities, of power  and of ornamental, decorative, futile, and frivolous, considered the feminine universe. The masculine universe and productivity, the Cartesian universe and the women’s and leisure universe, the stereotyped vision of society, I want to melt both of them so that sometimes what we end up with is a confusing image.”

Fábio Carvalho resides and centres his practice in Rio de Janeiro, where he is a member of the Almofadinhas collective (Dandys), alongside Rodrigo Mogiz and Rick Rodrigues. The shared focus of this group lies in their dedication to aesthetics perceived as sensitive, delicate, feminine, and artisanal, all employed to question the representation and societal conditioning of gender roles.

In Carvalho’s case, this means the juxtaposition or transformation of stereotypically masculine roles—such as military or sailors—infused with embroidered patterns of flowers, butterflies, hearts, ornaments, jewels, beads, or sequins. The resulting visual effect creates tension, breaks the cognitive consensus, and ultimately challenges what the viewer perceives as feminine or masculine. Historically, embroidery, although performed by males and females, evolved into a practice through which women were disciplined and subdued. It kept them occupied, obedient, and silent. Highly gendered, these learnings were and still are transmitted informally within family circles and traditions, as evident in exchanges between mothers and daughters, and the creation of wedding trousseau, for example. These lessons are reinforced by formal educational institutions, such as schools, in dichotomous subjects and curricula. Men who freely and consciously choose embroidery, stress the social conditioning of women who had limited scope of occupations deemed respectable and suitable to their gender. Carvalho goes one step further when he applies it to soldiers, sailors, or superheroes, exposing a sensitive, affectionate, and vulnerable side of men that has conventionally and historically been ignored. 

Carvalho’s art is daring and provocative, particularly in the context of Rio de Janeiro—a cosmopolitan and stimulating environment. However, Brazilian society, including Rio, remains Latin, Catholic, chauvinistic, and conservative. Strict adherence to old-fashioned rules dictates the teaching of gender roles, with society, families, and groups instructing children on how to dress, behave, and play. Gender-based violence is a prevalent issue. At the same time, the political culture and politicians favour a strong-hand policy and military deployment in the war against criminal gangs and organised crime groups. This context sheds a light on Carvalho’s work, which, while seemingly frivolous and humorous, is also subversive and raises questions about whether traditional masculinity serves both society and the individual.

Carvalho has participated in various international biennials, including the XXII Bienal de Cerâmica (Aveiro, Portugal, 2015), TRIO Bienal (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015), Bienal de Cerveira (Portugal, 2005), and Bienal de Cuenca (Ecuador, 1998). While his works have predominantly been exhibited in Brazil in private galleries and public institutions, they are now part of the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, the Museum of Art in Peru, and the Wilfredo Lam Center of Contemporary Art in Cuba.

Johanna Calle
born in 1965, Colombia

The research or the conceptual topic determines the material. Part of the research process of my artworks is to determine which material is the most suitable to deal with the topic in a symbolic way. I spend months researching materials and creating questions about ductility, resistance, and tools that allow a better use and specially its conservation. I tried to avoid the ephemeral. I don’t obtain a result in the first try. One of the advantages of art in relation to research projects is that these can continue in time indefinitely. For decades I have done research about some topics and that strengthens the approaches, the techniques, and sometimes the results.”

I do not believe in inspiration. My artworks are the result of research processes that fervently discuss with the research processes of materials.”

Johanna Calle portrait. Courtesy of the artist.
Johanna Calle portrait. Courtesy of the artist.

Johanna Calle pursued art education at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá from 1984-1989. Later, she was awarded a scholarship by the British Council in 1992, enabling her to study at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. Notably, she was a student of Doris Salcedo. Calle is a visual artist whose practice is deeply rooted in research. She investigates social and political phenomena, whilst testing the materials and technologies of art production. This inquisitive process is a foundation of her practice.  

Her work targets a vast array of issues, from internal conflict in her country, human collateral such as displacement, high rates of orphans, femicides, economic instability, and climate catastrophe. She lures the viewer through subtle visual games, challenging traditional optics in the representation of these problems. Her works do not adopt a straightforward, conventional approach; rather, they silently explore and reconstruct the core of the issues. 

Despite being trained as a painter, Calle chooses different mediums. Drawing, for her, is the tool that connects dots, outlines ideas, and shapes her language. She uses basic stitching, sewing, ink, photography, die casting, wire, and typewriting, among other techniques. Calle develops a private, secret, and subtle language that is also concrete and subversive, constructing complex, symbolically charged art with extremely simple forms, a raw colour palette, and twisted techniques.

The artist has occasionally chosen simple stitching and linear embroidery. The time-consuming and meditative practice that conveys care, concern, and attention to the subject matter is what originally drew her close to this medium. While retaining the same visual effect as drawing, stitching adds an empathic dimension to the object—as opposed to something immediate, easy, and direct. She creates pictures of trees with typed words or produces images that mimic embroidery with wire stitched to paper. She employs threads as abstract notations on paper, creating emotional lines that materialise into chaotic patterns on a flat surface.

In “Nombre propio,” Calle spent two years embroidering portraits of 1538 orphaned or abandoned children sourced from Colombian newspapers. These images depict vulnerable kids without names or parents, victims of internal turmoil. “Submergentes” is a series of works on paper where images of solitary, discarded, unemployed men are created using wire mesh that perforates cardboard. From a distance, they resemble embroidery, symbolising the impact of unemployment and economic decline on men, challenging gender roles and masculine behaviour—fractured society and evolving gender roles.

Calle’s works are part of prestigious collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, MoMA, MOLAA, National Bank of the Republic of Colombia, Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires, National Museum of Colombia, Cisneros Collection, and Isabel and Agustin Coppel Collection. Her art has been exhibited at the Sao Paulo, Sydney, and PAIZ in Guatemala Biennials, as well as in established institutions globally, including MoMa, Museum Amparo, Foundation Cartier, and SF MoMa.

Johanna Calle’s works can be seen soon at the Galerie Krinzinger in Vienna, the opening is planned on March 21st, 2024.

Felipe Coaquira
born in, 1977, Peru

My father is from Colca, there I learned about the work of the weavers. Even in this work, some characters are women from Colca and others are more symbolist, by Martínez Compañón. I have not wanted to completely leave aside the artisanal technique. I think we have to rewrite the history of Colca artisanal weaving.”

Felipe Coaquira Charca artist portrait. Courtesy of the artist.
Felipe Coaquira Charca artist portrait. Courtesy of the artist.

Felipe Coaquira, an artist who studied painting at the Escuela Superior de Arte Carlos Baca Flor, focuses on the intangible heritage of local native cultures in his work, from the syncretism and rituals of the pre-Hispanic world, translating the richness of history beyond visual expressions. Having lived in Chile for almost 15 years, Coaquira participated in a Mapuche textile production course, sparking his interest in embroidery. “Sometimes people see textile art as something minor, but that is not the case because it integrates many disciplines into one,” says this artist.  This choice also served his need to reconnect with his heritage, particularly grandmother who spinned, weaved, and sewed. 

In Coaquira’s work, threads serve as the weft juxtaposed with colour. The artist assembles and disassembles stories, legends, and customs—using synthetic fibres and cotton to stitch them onto fabric.  His manifesto aims to extend research into identity stories, creating a foundation for viewers to interpret the interplay between the real and magical, contemporary and ancient. The circularity of reality, where all is connected— past, presence, future, folk, prehispanic, and modern.

He was awarded the first prize in the XIII National Painting Competition by the Central Reserve Bank of Peru for his piece “Historias de Sonata en el Reino Viringo.” This artwork, made with synthetic fibre and cotton threads, subverts colonial pictorial iconography through the technique of machine embroidery used in traditional Colca people’s clothing. Placing the hairless, ancient, Peruvian dog, Viringo, at the centre, Coaquira symbolises a cultural renaissance and reclamation of indigenous heritage. During colonisation and under Catholic influence, the Viringo dog was mistreated and considered satanic. In the nineties, a cultural movement emerged to reclaim it as a national heritage. 

The artwork is divided into two parts. On the left, the Viringo is seated among women in period attire, portrayed with softer-coloured threads. On the right, marked threads depict a troupe of musicians, referencing the baroque era and paying homage to the dog’s historical significance in the cultures of the Moches and Chimú.

Coaquira’s artistic tribute extends to the historical journey of the Viringo in Peru, once mistreated and associated with plagues during the colonial and early republic periods. “I have tried to pay tribute to this little animal that in the history of Peru has not always been well. It was fine in pre-Hispanic times, but not so in the colony, who associated it with plagues or plagues. Nor at the beginning of the republic, when he lived stigmatised. Only 30 or 40 years ago was it rescued. Now it’s like a fashion. Now, many want to have a viringo, everyone wants one, like this little dog wants to unite Peruvian society,” explains Felipe Coaquira from his native Arequipa.

Guillermina Baiguera
born in 1979, Argentina

The embroidery captivated me. From the moment it appeared more than seventeen years ago, it was the most direct bridge to my intimate being, allowing me to access other states of mind typical of my energy.”

My work process is generally made up of those two premises, over and over again. Experimentation is an important part of my path, that is where different things arise that take me to other places that I would not have contemplated if I only followed rules.”

Guillermina Baiguera, artist portrait. Courtesy of the artist.
Guillermina Baiguera, artist portrait. Courtesy of the artist.

Guillermina Baiguera lives and works in Buenos Aires. She graduated in graphic design and is a self-taught embroiderer. Her approach to this medium is highly conceptual, incorporating studies and experiments with different stitches, threads, and supports. Her practice is solitary and intuitive; forms and themes come from her inner meditations. When she starts stitching, she is not yet sure of the outcome. The uncertainty of the artistic act is a crucial part of each proposition for Baiguera. Contingency and self-awareness determine the way she carries out each project, defining the final results in terms of size and content.

She is especially interested in bringing embroidery work to challenging or critical situations. In this sense, she incorporates drawing, sculpture, sculptural objects, ceramics, and also found objects or items from her workshop or personal collection. Baiguera tests the limits of this medium, creating images by dissolving or cutting out stitches. In her work, you can read the history of embroidery, but above all, a deconstruction of embroidery, if not destruction. Recently, in 2022, on the occasion of Ana Teresa Barboza’s show at the Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires, she organised a collective stitching performance titled ‘El tiempo suspendido.’ It was an exercise in constructive pause, suspending everything daily and common for the sake of collective stitching. She says of her art: “I value states of contemplation and apparent unproductivity. Embroidery is a powerful tool that I use to make sense of this compulsion that connects me with the universes that truly matter to me.”

By focusing on her process, the practice that Baiguera develops can be seen as resistance to the fast pace of contemporary life, assuming the traditional way of doing embroidery as a socially constructed female task. Still, in this case, it cannot be treated as a repetition of conservative models; it is a quiet and crafty defiance of the current state of affairs in the neoliberal economy and capitalist paradigm.

As the director of the Formosa art gallery, she has invented and coordinated embroidery workshops since 2008, establishing a unique space where this handicraft is taught and practised. In 2014, she edited and published her first book, “Manual: puntos bordados” (Buenos Aires, Formosa Ediciones, available at Anna & Juan), a beautifully illustrated compilation of her favourite embroidery stitches.Her work has been exhibited in Argentina, Japan, Germany, and the United States. She won the First Textile Prize at the National Hall of Visual Arts 20/21 in her country.

Ana Teresa Barboza Gubo
born in 1981, Peru

Embroidery and weaving are techniques that require time. I am using these techniques to make a parallel between manual work and the processes of nature, creating structures with thread similar to those made by a plant, for example. Create pieces that simulate experiments, to recompose nature with another order, teaching us to look at it again. Weaving in the pieces brings us closer to nature, forcing us to look at it with different eyes, to explore its structures and processes. The idea is to Intervene the natural fabric to continue what nature has already started, transform it respecting its natural flow and structure, rescuing manual work within that entire process.

Ana Teresa Barboza Gubo, Artist portrait. Courtesy of the artist.
Ana Teresa Barboza Gubo, Artist portrait. Courtesy of the artist.

A Peruvian visual artist who works in various media, craft, digital, and academic techniques, Ana Teresa Barboza often collaborates with other artists and artisans. Her artistic practice combines several themes: personal or intimate relationships and social or community relations with the ecosystem it inhabits.

Educated as a painter, Ana Teresa Barboza has spent most of her career stitching, weaving, and sewing. The aesthetics in which she oscillates are a mixture of representation and reduction to the most important compositional elements: form, colour, and texture. As a result, the art she creates is subtle, refined, and beautiful on the surface but very complex in the content layer.

The pieces she carries out or designs are the culmination of a long research and creative process that takes into account the social, ecological, geographical, and cultural conditions of materials, production methods, and topics. Embroidery was especially used by her at the beginning of her career, at the moment of the transition from fashion design to art practice. She chose to work with threads and needles to first investigate her relationship with the body and clothes, as the things we live in and go through different stages of life. Then she was captured by the circular processes of nature, the connections, and dependencies between soil, minerals, ocean and rivers, desert and animals, plants from which she sources the fibres. To depict the regenerative natural powers, Ana Teresa Barboza combined photography, stitching, and weaving.

Ana Teresa Barboza does not contest reality, criticise, or question existing orders, whether social or natural. She breaks it down into prime factors, examines its layers, and the relationships between them. Through the selection of materials and the combination of vernacular and modern techniques, she captures the audience’s attention, giving them the opportunity to contemplate and learn actively about complex problems created by emotions, culture, or nature. The artist departs from the traditional application of methods. When she embroiders, she does not create decorations or beautify utility fabrics. She uses embroidery like drawing or painting. Braided or woven works take the shape of soft sculptures, installations of objects, and infographics. Other times they are collages where photography and drawing are combined with knitted, woven, or embroidered elements.

A winner of the national painting competition organised by the Central Reserve Bank of Peru and the Central Museum (Mucen) in 2008 and a participant in biennials in Sydney, Paiz, and Cuenca. Her works were shown in the United States, Netherlands, Korea, Argentina, and Spain.

Rick Rodrigues
born in 1988, Brazil

Delicacy, human fragility, the real, the unreal and dreams are aspects present in my works, by researching the various possibilities of drawing, I ended up with embroidery. “Actually, I learned embroidery from a deceased brother and my first series was birds, which I made in honour of him. When we were children, I saw him sewing leather on my grandparents’ farm and he, without much patience, gave me the strategy: ‘you go and then come back with the thread’”. It’s the famous point-back. I went back to my emotional and childhood memories and, in the last drawing projects, I arrived at this strategy by remembering this sewing. Furthermore, embroidery for me is one of the ways to draw. My works are about memory, childhood, life in the countryside.”

Rick Rodrigues was born in João Neiva (Espírito Santo), where he currently lives and works. He holds a degree in Fine Arts and a Master of Arts from the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES). His art explores the space of intimacy, close relationships, and day-to-day living. The recurring theme in his works is the house conceptualised as protection and a common inhabited space, whilst his visual language is delicate and minimal. He typically designs and produces objects in series, composed of drawings, engravings, embroidery, poems, statements, and ready-mades such as pillows, toys, handkerchiefs, tablecloths, and aprons. He organises them into cohesive, site-specific environments.

He appropriates techniques perceived as feminine, conservative, and artisanal, applying them in a queer aesthetic. His aim is to challenge the viewer with a new representation and concept of masculinity and to expose the limits of socio-cultural conditioning. He provokes discussions about the individual and the social when he does not target the house as a source of oppression and indoctrination but perceives it as a source of emotional security or instability.

The artist is a member of the Almofadinhas group, also formed by Fábio Carvalho (RJ) and Rodrigo Mogiz (BH), who dedicate themselves to activities in the sensitive and delicate territory, with embroidery as one of the means of producing their works. In this context, the artists emphasise the embroidery technique in the discussion of contemporaneity and tradition along with approaches to memory, gender, affectivity, and sexuality.

For the artist, “embroidery is one of the most affectionate languages, and it is through sewing with different stitches and supports ranging from fabrics to cardboard that I communicate. I believe that there is no one who does not have a story or memory with this technique. It can refer to a familiar cloth kept in a drawer or in emotional memory, to a scene of someone embroidering at home or in the neighbourhood, or what we are wearing now.”

Written by Alicja Głuszek

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