Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in The Social Fabric: Deep Local to Pan Global; Proceedings of the Textile Society of America 16th Biennial Symposium. Presented at Vancouver, BC, Canada; September 19 – 23, 2018. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/tsaconf/

doi 10.32873/unl.dc.tsasp.0029


Copyright © 2018 by the author


This paper considers the intersection of processes of making and cultural memory as contemporary Shipibo artists design, produce, and exchange of their contemporary textiles and art. One sees a continuation of traditional collaborative social networks both in Peru’s deep Amazon region and in new Shipibo communities of Pucallpa and Lima. In cities, they create new artistic networks and expressions of art in ceremony. In these artworks, one sees how Shipibo relationship to the natural world, the forest, plants, animals, and waters reflects deep spiritual beliefs, wisdom, and community knowledge. Shipibo communities in 2017 face ever-expanding challenges from intrusions into their Lima community and their remote Amazon communities through legal and illegal acquisition of resources, and degradation of their lands and waters from oil spills, mining wastes, and corporate farms within Amazon forests. This paper considers a variety of energized community responses by artists and Shipibo community members as they embrace the aesthetics of their kene designs and collaborative textile practices to articulate the deep local of their Amazon communities in the pan global world. How have textile practices, consumption, and design evolved in recent years as a response to these changes? How have some artists become activists and expanded their use of technology, media, and conversations about kene design in Peruvian culture to support a local and global audience as their artworks continue to express “I am Shipibo.” This paper also explores the complicated relationships of consumers and designers as the hand worked process of woven, embroidered, and painted kene heritage confronts commercial appropriation of their designs. This work draws on recent research and my 2007-2011 participation in the Field Museum’s expeditions into Peru’s remote Amazon to record, document, collect textiles, as well as creating a documentary “Shipibo: Movie of our Memories.”