Threads of Tradition: Shipibo-Konibo Textile Arts
Guest-curated by Martha Ma
October 7–15, 2023 ** Extended through October 22nd **
Opening Reception & Fundraiser: Saturday, October 7, 5–7 pm
Funds raised will benefit Shipibo Konibo Women Artisans
Medicine Talk & Discussion: Wednesday, October 11, 5–6:30 pm
On view during Open Hours, Bushel programs, by chance, and by appointment
(for appointments, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Threads of Tradition” is a celebration of the rich cultural tradition of textile arts by the Shipibo Konibo women artisans of the Peruvian Amazon. Their unique design, known as kené, express a complex pattern language conveying ancestral knowledge that is musical as well as visual. Traditionally passed on through women from mother to daughter, kené are painted on textiles, ceramics, and wood carvings, beaded into jewelry, and in ancient times drawn on the human body. These artworks are vessels for storytelling, describing the geography, cosmology, and the daily life of the Shipibo Konibo.
The Shipibo Konibo have thrived for centuries nourished by the Ucayali River and the surrounding forests. With increasing contact with non-indigenous people and encroachment by commercial interests, their existence and future are threatened by environmental challenges, the diminishing transmission of traditional knowledge to younger generations, appropriation of their medicinal tradition, and the persistent need for economic sovereignty.
This exhibition is a testament to their enduring spirit and an invitation to help launch Inin Rabi, a newly formed nonprofit, whose mission is to support Shipibo Konibo women artisans and their efforts to alleviate poverty and recover autonomy. The opening reception for “Threads of Tradition” will double as a fundraiser, including a brief talk by the exhibition curator Martha Ma, followed by a light meal centered on Beten, a traditional Peruvian Amazonian stew.
Martha Ma is the Co-Founder and CEO of Inin Rabi. She spent over three years living and working alongside the Shipibo Konibo community, which cemented her deep love and dedication to their community. She is a community garden educator, artist, teaching chef, writer, holistic health counselor, and permaculture practitioner. She is the former Executive Director of Naniola Productions, creating informational multimedia events and content for public education on current food issues and healthy living. She currently stewards a little oasis in Walton, NY.