ana maria hernando
I reflect the transformative, compassionate conversation of the universe: the silent, loving work of women in sync with the rhythms and forms of the earth, with only the glimmer of the moonlight revealing and recognizing their service.
As a child in Buenos Aires I watched my Spanish grandmothers and my mother come together to sew, crochet and embroider, talking and sharing the everyday. The things they made from the cloth and yarn and thread came to express their spirit. All the beauty – the hours of work, the washing and ironing – was made invisible as the tablecloths were later stained with food.
I am moved by this image of women quietly holding the world, a beautiful tablecloth becoming the backdrop for a party happening all around. I continue to explore the unacknowledged feminine force of work as a kind of prayer that has been important to me my whole life.
In my installations, I include the handwork of other women to bring light to these loving, invisible acts: embroidered petals made by cloistered Carmelite nuns; starched Peruvian petticoats; Ñanduti pieces made by Paraguayan women.
The first women I approached, with the help of my mother, were a group of cloistered nuns in Buenos Aires. We met for the first time in 2001, amongst civil unrest, riots, and five presidencies within two weeks. Sometime later I also began a deep relationship with a group of women weavers from Mollomarka, in the Andes of Peru. The individual goals and abilities of these women are transfigured into something new, something sacred, as they work together as one force.
In my painting and sculptural work, I am interested in other facets of transformation and individuality. I am drawn to the equalitarian landscape of the nighttime, when the hierarchy of colors we see in the sunlight fades, edges disappear, and the experience of invisibility – another transformation of the self – is available to everyone. I am excited by flowers, too, as individuals, objects of impermanence moving in the breeze and shining for a brief time. I look closely at the ways in which human beings mirror and suggest natural forms.