ana maria hernando
As a multidisciplinary artist my work focuses on using empathy to make the invisible visible. My art invites viewers to question our preconceptions of the other – including nature and the earth – their worth, and their value.
During my childhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I watched the Spanish women of my family come together to sew, crochet, and embroider, sharing the everyday with one another. These spontaneous circles of women gathering with a common purpose always held something magical for me, a power that was difficult to define but impossible to ignore. The community they build has no use for the ego of an individual, making way for the well-being of the whole as the focus. The things my mother and grandmothers made from fabric and thread were expressions of the communal spirit. All the beauty – the hours of work, the washing and ironing – became invisible, a setting for the table that would inevitably be laid and stained with food. In my practice, I explore these unacknowledged feminine forces of work as a prayer, searching for the divinity in the collective work.
This invisibility is not a coincidence, but an imposed silencing, stemming from the discomfort that patriarchal societies have had with the work of women for centuries. In my installations and sculptural works, I include the handwork of other women who reach back to traditions that survive through time: embroidered petals made by cloistered Carmelite nuns, clouds of tulle made by friends and volunteers at my studio, starched Peruvian petticoats from mountainous Quechua communities, and other artifacts of toil, exuberance, and creation. Using these seemingly soft daily materials, I want to reclaim the idea of what power looks like; to show that it is present in the unfolding of the feminine, unstoppable, and unconstrained.
It is my deeply felt intention to illuminate the thirst of the heart, and what occurs behind the veil, the pattern and the labor of our lives.
Ana María Hernando