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Sarah Zapata


I grew up in Texas with an evangelical Christian mother and a Peruvian father: culture and religion were currency in my family. My Peruvian heritage brought me to textiles from a young age, but their malleability and historical context enabled me as an artist. Through textiles, I examine how my experience points to larger societal constructs, intersecting theories of gender, cultural identity, and spirituality. As a Peruvian-American lesbian, my work employs labor-intensive hand processes that point to the eroticism and dynamism of women, through the use of installation and writing. Making work with meditative, mechanical means, my 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, an artist challenging the history of craft as “women’s work” within the realm of art. I employ traditional crafts in a monumental, abstract manner, to be a tactile embodiment of gender and cultural performativity. Rather than adorning the body, I use textiles to adorn the space and to direct the body through the space, to create a sense of narrative experience for the viewer.