Alejandra Ballon Gutiérrez

Alejandra Ballón Gutiérrez was awarded the 2015 AFIELD fellowship for her initiative SOI: Research Center and Graphic Studio Shipibo-Conibo, based in Lima. 1

The ghetto of Cantagallo (Lima) is home to the Amazonian community Shipibo-Conibo. Its culture is ancestral and mostly known for weaving technique called Kené. Through a peer-to-peer learning process with women based in Catagallo, Alejandra Ballón Gutiérrez started learning aesthetic patrons of geometrical abstraction found in the Kené weaving and in their culture and teaching her three associates occidental methodologies related to postmodernism and conceptual art. The fellowship supports the Research Center and Graphic Studio Shibipo-Conibo, a not-for-profit cultural association of Amazonian design patterns, that gathers artefacts, textiles, murals and drawings, produced in the cultural exchange with local communities. 2 Through a practice-based anthropology, the centre aims at rescuing the ancient forms, as well as the modern and contemporary ones in order to understand the evolution of the communities decoded on the graphics and colorimetry studies. Collected in the catalogue of Amazonian design, each pattern includes the graphic, the historical, the technical and the cultural references associated to the design. This project aims at being the primary source of aesthetic information on Shipibo culture. Its goal is to help depreciated and discriminated communities to know, recognize and appreciate the philosophical and economical value of their art as this can help reshape their political condition. 3

In 2018, Alejandra Ballon Guttierez will become the mentor of About A Worker, a social enterprise based in France and intiated by fashion designer Kim Hou and Paul Boulanger.

Alejandra Gutierrez Ballón (Arequipa, Peru, 1975) is a researcher and artist based in Lima who employs both theory and practice to contribute to the social construction and reconstruction of her country. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies in the Department of Social Anthropology and Ethnology of the EHESS in Paris and holds an MA from the CCC Research-based Master programme at Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD). Ballón has participated in exhibitions and critical projects both individually and collaboratively. Her visual and written work has been published in international publications.

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For an archive of the research click here

cover photo: Alejandra Ballón Gutiérrez working on the Mural "Memoria Shipibo-Conibo" with Wilma Maynas Inuma, Silvia Ricopa and Olinda Silvano, courtesy: SÖI. Centro de Investigación y Taller Gráfico Shipibo-Conibo, ph. Rodo Abdias Arrascue Navas

video: camera by Rodrigo Flores C, Totó Flores, Rodo Abdias, editing by Rodrigo Flores C, photography by Alejandra Ipince, Rodo Abdias, Olga Osnayo Oliveros

1. Alejandra Ballón Gutiérrez working on the Mural "Memoria Shipibo-Conibo" with Wilma Maynas Inuma, Silvia Ricopa and Olinda Silvano, ph. Rodo Abdias Arrascue Navas
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2. Making of the 'Barranco Shipibo' mural, Lima, ph. Olga Osnayo Oliveros
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3. Women from the Shipibo-Conibo community working on a mural in Lima
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