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.
Sarah Zapata was born in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1988. The artist was raised in the Dallas area of Texas. Zapata received a BFA in Studio Art – Fibers from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas in 2011.
Solo exhibitions of Zapata’s work include: a resilience of things not seen at John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin (2022); In Vastness of Borrowed Time (The Taxing of a Fruitful Procession) at Crisis in Lima, Peru (2021); The Taxing of a Fruitful Procession at the Museo MATE in Lima, Peru (2020); A Famine of Hearing at Performance Space in New York City (2019); Speculative Monuments at Institute 193 in Lexington, Kentucky (2019); Of This World Rather at Deli Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (2019); If I Could at Deli Gallery in Long Island City, New York (2017); Untitled Installation for New York Textile Month at Marimekko x MAD Museum in New York City (2016); Siempre X at El Museo Del Barrio in New York City (2016); and Thinthread at Bushwick Open Studios in Queens, New York (2014).
Group exhibitions that have shown Zapata’s work include: The Fool at 8th House Projects in Mexico City, Mexico (2022); 2021 Buscando Recuerdos at Hashimoto Contemporary in New York City (2021); Quince Tejidos y Un Poco de Fieltro at Crisis in Lima, Peru (2021); Cruising the Horizon at The Latinx Project at NYU in New York City (2021); Latinx Abstract at BRIC House in Brooklyn, New York (2021); Entwined at Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Louisiana (2020); In The Teeth of the Empire at College Arts Association Conference in Chicago, Illinois (2020); A nerve is not a nerve but a bundle of fibers at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois (2020); Horology at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York City (2019); The Burke Prize 2019 at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City (2019); Interrupted Underpinnings at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin (2019); Grand Buffet at Babayaga in Hudson, New York (2019); NADA HOUSE in Governor's Island, New York (2019); Soft Territories at the Knockdown Center in Queens, New York (2019); and Curriculum: spaces of learning and unlearning at EFA Project Space in New York City (2019); among others.
Zapata’s work is in the permanent collections of: the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in the Netherlands; the Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru; and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.
Zapata has been the recipient of numerous residencies and awards, including a Windgate Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center in 2018. Zapata was a studio resident at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts in 2017.
Zapata lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.