in times of mourning or social protest 1
For this work, the artist used common materials, such as yarn, fabrics and paper, to create an object steeped in tradition—an object that simultaneously addresses systems of control, labor and cultural relevance. This work explores the artist's identity as a Peruvian American. At the same time, it examines how processes and objects with imagery depicting the feminine, the fetishized and the handmade can appropriate value.
This work is part of a series by Zapata that encompasses abstracted sculptures and latch-hooked rugs. In the sculptures, anthropomorphic forms rise from coiled-rope bases—alluding to the rope baskets of ancient Peru. Yet these works eschew the symmetry of basketry for the freedom of abstraction. They depict figures emerging like the swaddled mummies of Paracan culture, but decorated with bright confectionary colors and embracing the improvisational composition of contemporary fine art. Likewise, the rugs reference the rich textile traditions of Peru, while simultaneously embracing contemporary craft practices. These works escape the rigid control of geometric design, following instead the freedom of intuition.
Sarah Zapata’s fabric works employ traditional weaving, coiling and latch-hook techniques to achieve contemporary abstracted objects. Inspired by her Peruvian heritage and feminist theory, the artist’s body of work examines issues of labor and systems of power and control, as well as Queerness, cultural relativism and the intersectionality of identity. Zapata’s work exists between the past and the present, between craft and fine art, between South and North America.