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Arts of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean

Works of art from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean range from ancient cultures to cutting-edge artists of today. Among the highlights are the Glassell Collection of Pre-Columbian Gold and the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art by Latin American and Latino artists.

© Olga de Amaral
Colombian, born 1932
Lienzo Ceremonial 6
Fiber, gold leaf, and paint

76 1/2 x 20 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Carol Straus

Arts of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean

Olga de Amaral is inspired by the countryside around her home in Bogota, memories of gold-leaf covered Catholic church interiors, and knowledge of ancient craft traditions and materials gleaned from trips to native artisan markets. Using traditional hand-weaving techniques, linen, and fibers grown in Colombian soil, she carefully constructs abstract representations of place which are at once spiritual and sensual. They are tangible reminiscences of the land, its people, and its traditions.

The Lienzo Ceremonial series features intricately woven "waterfalls" of color. A spiderweb of individual linen threads forms a fluid composition of color gradations. The background of each work has also been gessoed and painted to further enhance the overall composition. Technique, structure, and materials have always been central to de Amaral's work. Weaving and plaiting are her primary techniques although she is also very adept at layering. De Amaral is also known for her keen sense of color, texture, and pattern, which imbue her wall hangings, or "woven walls," with a great sense of graphic presence, movement, and depth.