The confluence of the image of the river and the act of weaving is present both metaphorically and literally across contemporary practices in Colombia.

Using the river as a conceptual device to explore the intersections in contemporary Colombian culture between design, craft, and art, Waterweavers investigated the intricate ways in which culture and nature can intertwine across disciplines. The Bard Graduate Center Gallery provided a backdrop for a series of displays that emerged from a curatorial strategy in which immersive environments presented on the walls frame three-dimensional pieces at the center of each room. The exhibition included drawing, ceramics, graphic design, furniture, textiles, video, and installations. Unexpected juxtapositions created a critical and conceptual friction between works and practices that are seldom shown together.

Colombia is a country whose complex topography has historically caused waterways to be the only means of transportation between many communities—rivers have both united and separated people. Today, when most Colombians live in cities, rivers have continued to serve as the sole access to remote areas, but they have also played a new role, as the axis for a different type of economics: the black market fueling the armed conflict that has plagued Colombia for decades. Waterweavers addressed these issues from very different points of view, presenting a territory laden with conflict while showing the creative output that nevertheless thrives in the midst of—or in response to—hardship.

Artists and designers included: Olga de Amaral, Susana Mejía, Alberto Baraya, Abel Rodríguez, David Consuegra, Tangrama, Monika Bravo, Ceci Arango, Clemencia Echeverri, Marcelo Villegas, Álvaro Catalán de Ocón, Lucy Salamanca, Jorge Lizarazo, Nicolás Consuegra, Carol Young.

Organized by the Bard Graduate Center and curated by José Roca with Alejandro Martín.

Waterweavers was on view from June 24 to September 27, 2015 at the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington D.C. and at Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid, Spain, with the title Tejedores de agua: El río en la cultura visual y material contemporánea de Colombia, from February 25 to April 12, 2015.

Exhibition Preview