Hechizoo’s transformative new show.

Voyages & Explorations

By Cristina Grajales

Beginning this week, Hechizoo: Voyages/Explorations brings the magic of the Amazon’s flora and fauna to New York’s Cristina Grajales Gallery, through handmade textiles and sculptural objects. Inspired by the notion of a historical botanical expedition, the show’s centerpiece is a stunning hand-beaded canoe, dramatically suspended from the gallery ceiling above a grand, landscape-inspired rug. This is just the second U.S. show for Hechizoo, a Bogotá design studio and atelier launched in 2000 by self-taught weaver Jorge Lizarazo. Known for beautifully intricate works, Hechizoo’s textiles innovatively combine man-made materials and indigenous organic fibers. Below, Grajales shares the inspiration behind her fantastic new show.

In March 2013, I traveled to Bogotá to visit the magical world of Hechizoo in order to continue our conversation about Hechizoo’s second solo show in the United States. In the middle of their atelier, I saw something that left me speechless. It was a wooden canoe from the Amazonas. Jorge Lizarazo, the owner and creative director of Hechizoo, explained to me that he was thinking about covering this canoe in glass beads. Standing next to the piece was a lovely woman named Concepcion, a master of this craft. Hailing from the Putumayo region of the Amazonas, Concepcion would be in charge of covering the canoe with thousands of brightly colored glass beads, creating symbols of her native land.

When I saw the canoe . . . I started to dream. When I saw the canoe and met Concepcion, I started to dream. I saw us traveling down the Putumayo River, discovering magical lands. I was instantly transported back to the 19th century, a time during which explorers like Alexander von Humboldt were discovering new flora and fauna throughout the Amazon region and recording their findings for the world to see. It was a time of great experimentation; similar to what Hechizoo is experiencing right now.

Jorge and his weavers continue to push the boundaries, whether it’s covering a canoe with glass beads or creating treelike sculptures out of industrial rubber. These sculptures pay homage to the beautiful rubber trees that were tapped nearly to extinction for their rich liquid. This liquid brought enormous wealth to the region of the Amazonas, spurring the development of ornate buildings such as the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus. I am excited to bring the exuberance and richness of the Amazonas to our gallery, and to tell the story of this magnificent place through textiles.

*Hechizoo: Voyages/Explorations runs through January at Cristina Grajales Gallery.

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    • Cristina Grajales

      Cristina Grajales

      Cristina is a renown NY-based design advisor and dealer. Her eponymous gallery specializes in contemporary works that blur the lines between art and design.