In a unique cooperative exhibit, Armstrong Atlantic State University hosts a show of Andean weaving from the highlands of Argentina at the Fine Arts Gallery through Jan. 25.
On the final day the gallery hosts a closing reception at 6 p.m., with an expert talk about these one-of-a-kind pieces of textile art and about ways to keep that tradition alive.
Connect spoke to AASU art prof Rachel Green about the show.
How did this exhibit come about?
Rachel Green: This exhibition is a result of the Georgia Board of Regents doing a faculty development seminar in May. Part of the focus was to learn about Andean culture in Argentina, and to help the local weaving community. We went there to devise some ways to assist them in meeting their goals.
Who exactly did you work with there?
Rachel Green: We worked with two groups, Andes Huasi and the Valley Verde Foundation. Both work with artisans from the same area, which is very remote and relies on a long tradition of textile production and weaving. Otherwise the two groups aren’t associated, and approached the problem in two different ways.
Andes Huasi looks at artisans in the area and sees them leaving textile work to go into other industries. The artisans there are forced, because they assume all risks, to purchase all their materials, produce pieces and they also have to market it. So what Andes Huasi does is purchase materials for artisans provide designs and market.
The Valley Verde Foundation is near a small town in the same valley, very remote. They formed a nonprofit fair trade organization with the goal of improving the craft product. They want to establish a sustainable tourist industry in the area, so people will visit them in their homes, look at work and purchase art directly. That way they don’t have to travel to market all day to sell artwork.
What does Armstrong have to do with that effort?
Rachel Green: One thing we came up with was having this exhibit as a way of educating people in this community about groups and textiles. But also we’re going to take a group of students there doing a Study Abroad in June to the town of Salta. We’ll work with weavers and with the Valley Verde Foundation, stay with them a couple of days, take photos and provide graphic design materials, marketing materials. It’s like a service project.
Is Savannah just going to see work by Valley Verde at the exhibit?
Rachel Green: No, there will be textiles from both groups. The real exciting part for Savannah is the guest that will speak at the closing reception. He has a tourism business in Argentina, and his area of academic expertise is sustainable tourism. During the reception he’ll lead a discussion of what is sustainable tourism and how they’re trying to practice it.
Living Threads: Andean Weavings from Argentina can be seen in the AASU Fine Arts Gallery through Jan. 25. Hours are weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A reception is Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. Call 927-5381. Armstrong Atlantic State University, 11935 Abercorn St.