Hopes and dreams and fabric and seems

Lisa Trimble (left), Rebecca Davis (middle), and Caren Murray (right) stand side-by-side at the Esther and John Clay Fine Arts Gallery. Photo by Abby Morillon

Picturing Paradise is an informative art show that is being held in the Esther and John Clay Fine Arts Gallery at LCCC. The show runs through Sept. 21, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  

The artist, curator and researcher Rebecca Davis has been traveling back and forth from Peru. Davis said she has been engaging Peruvian women who live in shantytowns to create artistic fabric commonly known as cuadros. Davis said she has been working with these women since 2006 and follows up with the women every year as she travels to research what these women are creating.

There are three major parts of what the cuadros represent: what the women’s hopes and dreams were, what their inspirations and motivations were, and lastly Davis said she asked the women who are they as women.

Davis said she first met the women in 2006, when she started researching their hopes and dream. After a month of work the Peruvian women shared with each other their hopes and dreams. One woman wanted to find love and happiness, another wanted world peace. This was shown in the tapestry the women made, the different stories that the women made in the fabric. The second part of the research was followed up the next year in 2007. Davis said she asked the women to show what their inspirations and motivations were. The third time Davis went back the main idea was to demonstrate “who am I as a woman?” The cuadros are more than just art, they are a source of income for the woman, Davis said. It is also a way to show the times in Peru: happy, sad, political downfall, violence and so much more.

The art that was made “represents their realities of shantytowns outside of Lima,” Davis said. The women have a way to portray their lives to the world, Davis said.

Some different techniques that the women used that Davis mentioned were “Combination of applique, reverse applique, stitching using fabric scraps and regular fabric.” The cuadros were never sketched; they would start from what they thought would be best and they would turn out amazing, Davis said. Some ways that the woman were able to show “Picturing Paradise,” according to Davis, were, “The themes and topics are from a women’s perspective and they are active agents in the work.” The paradise is what the women’s aspirations are and what paradise is to them.

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