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Sarah Zapata

Artist 216

Sarah Zapata Challenging the history of craft Fiber Arts Sarah Zapata (born 1988) is a Peruvian American textile artist. She works with the themes of sexuality, femininity and masculinity. She pushes the boundaries of textiles as an expressive art. Her artworks include knitting, carpet weaving and other traditional fiber arts. She uses these common materials like yarn, ubiquitous objects, fabrics and paper to create a body of work steeped in tradition, systems of control, labor and cultural relevance. The first thing one would probably notice about Zapata’s work is the fuzziness. She envelops every area of her work in colorful fuzz.

Her work is characterized by enormous carpets that are sculptural and have patches of bright colors. Often, her art exhibits are interactive and contain a live performance. Zapata has frustrations about the current masculine political system and that carpet weaving and the production of textiles are traditionally considered women’s weaving work. In the artist’s eyes, this makes it the perfect medium for the expression of her angst against

what she sees as a male-dominated control system. Zapata’s work centers on the theme of identity. Her extended family is split between the USA and Peru. She felt isolated from her Peruvian heritage and uses fiber arts to connect with that side of her history. Her creations often use a combination of traditional Peruvian weaving skills and modern American carpet making techniques.

This combination represents the intersection of cultures that are within her. In Zapata’s own words, “I make work with labor-intensive processes such as hand-weaving, rope-coiling, latch-hooking, and sewing by intersecting theories of gender and ethnicity with precolonial histories and techniques. Making work with meditative, mechanical means, the current work deals with the multiple facets of my complex identity: a Texan living in Brooklyn; a lesbian raised as an evangelical Christian; a first generation American of Latin American descent; a contemporary artist inspired by ancient civilizations; and an artist challenging the history of craft as “women’s work” within the realm of art.”

Sources consulted:…/contemporary-textile-art…/


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