Textiles with sewn objects are a common feature in the production of Andrés Pereira Paz. Such gesture partakes and recalls Bolivian cargamentos (shipments). Cargamentos are traditional textiles with sewn silver objects. They are used to cover vehicles and pack animals or to tailor garments for festivities and celebrations. Their use is associated with good fortune, abundance, fullness and bliss. Due to the altitude of the Andean landscape of Bolivia, the silver objects interact with the rays of the sun intensively; they radiate light creating a sort of luminous halo.
For this series of works, titled Misterios (Mysteries), Pereira Paz has produced several textiles portraying animals. Most of these beings are often associated with the Andean region of South America, like the llama or the condor. Pareira Paz´s animals, however, are inspired in the illustrations of Ramún Katari´s El Amawtta, a publication devoted largely to showcasing his pedagogical ideas and proposals for transforming
education based in indigenous cultures and knowledge. Katari was, in fact, a teacher of basic education and implemented his method in class.
One of his didactic activities, for example, proposed to take an animal, either real or mythical, in order to invent a sign for each day of the week. As such, it proposed a different relation with the animal world and highlighted its (age-old) potential to interact with human symbolic thought. As in traditional cargamentos, Pereira Paz has sewn metalware to these textiles. The placement of such objects contributes to the final solution of the design of the animals. The majority of these objects were produced in Taxco, Mexico, from the 1940s to the 1970s – decades marked by a considerable national and international demand for its silver and metal commodities, characterized for their regional and modern design. One of the workshops active in Taxco was Los Castillo, authors of the original technique known as metales casados (matched metals / married metals). In the objects designed by Los Castillo, representations of animals are also abundant, either inspired in Pre-Hispanic art or through their own styles of modern rendering. Reflecting on the original conception of the cargamentos, the metal objects used by Pereira Paz in these works also speak of a situation of abundance and prosperity, as well as of cultural determination, in the recent history of Mexico.
These layers of meaning are integrated into Pereira Paz´s Misterios, just as objects are superimposed on textiles in cargamentos. These pieces, while presenting a particular symbolic world, seem to situate cultural self-determination and a more meaningful relationship with the natural world as harbingers of plenitude and good fortune.
Daniel Garza Usabiaga