ana maria hernando

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Écoutons / Let's Listen / Escuchemos

Écoutons is French for Let’s Listen. Or Escuchemos, in Spanish. Before the quarantine, Écoutons began as a group performance of going up the Mountain of San Peyre, in the region of the Alps Maritimes in the South of France, and listening together as a collective experience. In silence, the group embroidered and listened while the birds were singing. The restrictions that the pandemic inflicted worldwide changed these plans, and this activity wasn't possible anymore. So Ana Maria sent out an invitation for a different experience, but one that still retained the element of active listening and collectiveness.

“Sit by a window, a door, a garden, the mountain, and listen…And listen some more. Birds might be singing..."

People took the time to pay attention to their surroundings, and record what they heard. Recordings from all over the world started pouring in. Since then, Ana Maria has been listening to the sounds she received, and embroidering what was heard as individual pieces, as a form of visual translation. Those embroidered pieces have been used to make “Ñustapac urpichakuna / Pájaros para la Ñusta / Birds for the Ñusta”, a dress for the feminine spirit of the mountain, the Ñusta (in the Peruvian-Andean cosmology), present in Mount San Peyre.

Amid the quietness that forced quarantines inflict, being offered this invitation to listen seems to have created an opportunity to be present and connect with nature. Écoutons has become a devotional piece of resistance.

Ñustapac urpichakuna / Pájaros para la Ñusta / Birds for the Ñusta

In the Peruvian-Andean cosmology, the Ñusta is the feminine spirit of the mountain. Ana María Hernando has been creating dresses for the Ñusta in her work for several years. A tulle rendition for the Ñusta is the centerpiece of this installation. For this piece, the artist also invited people from around the world to contemplate their surroundings, paying special attention to the sounds of birds, and send her short audio recordings. The result was an outpour of bird songs and sounds, which the artist interpreted and translated, each into individual embroidered pieces then attached to the Ñusta. In midst of the quietness that the pandemic inflicted worldwide, the artist sought to create an opportunity to be present and connect with nature, especially birds, which are in steep decline around the world.


Birds for the Ñusta is very much alive and changing. As more and more recordings come in, Ana Maria - who is currently in residence at the Chateau - continues to listen and add new layers of sounds turned embroidery to the Ñusta.

The artist thanks all who have sent sounds from all over the world for the making of this piece.

Courtesy of the artist and Robischon Gallery, Denver, Colorado, USA