Mariana Silva Varela – Expedition Magallanes

Published: 6 October, 2023
Mariana Silva Varela – Expedition Magallanes

October 21 – December 10, 2023
Vernissage Saturday 21 October at 12-4pm. Artist talk at 3 p.m.

Swedish archives keep the skulls of three Selk’nam men, part of the indigenous population of Patagonia, southern South America. They were brought to Sweden by the polar explorer Otto Nordenskjöld after his trip there in the late years of the 19th century, while the ongoing extermination of the Selk’nam people took place through the violence of European ranchers.

The stories about the Swedes’ visit to the Magallanes region and their involvement in the colonial developments are the starting point for a larger body of work by artist Mariana Silva Varela. In textile weaves in materials such as gold, linen and wool, the artist traces the early relations between Chile and Sweden. An interest in how arts and crafts techniques have moved between the continents through the ages influences her work, and during a residency stay at Art Lab Gnesta, several new fabrics and graphic prints (in collaboration with Jakob Krajcik) have been produced.

The exhibition conjures up a world of its own. It is certainly influenced by historical research, but perhaps above all composed of memory fragments and fantasies about a place that for a long time was only accessible to the artist through the stories of an older generation.

Mariana Silva Varela (born 1973) is educated in pedagogy, rhetoric and scientific theory at Södertörn University and has a higher textile education from Handarbetets Vänner School. With a background as a historian in History of Migration, she works artistically with textiles, staging and light in relation to anthropology and folklore.

Exhibition text (dpf)