WICHI YARNS AT THE LONDON DESIGN BIENNALE

Argentina will take part in the London Design Biennale, where an installation based on Wichi textile pieces will be displayed.

Thirty-four countries from all five continents, including Argentina, will take part in the London Design Biennale from 4 to 23 September 2018 at Somerset House.

Under the slogan Emotional States, these countries will create installations related to the sensorial qualities of design which provoke emotions and moods, exploring the history of each country.

Argentina will be represented by an installation called The Impenetrable Forest, created with textile pieces by Wichi communities from the Province of Formosa and organized with the support of the Argentine Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Culture, the British Council and the Mar del Plata designers collective TRImarchi, as curators.

The name of the installation makes reference to the area of native forests covering with dense and thick vegetation the Provinces of Chaco, Formosa and Salta.

Argentina's participation in the London Design Biennale has three goals:

- To pay homage to the historic Wichi legacy and the daily efforts to keep it intact, uncontaminated and free of external influences.

- To find genuine ways of dynamizing regional economies, raising awareness abroad of products offered by them.

- To show to the world Argentina's typical cultural diversity, which is expressed in our language, art, religious beliefs, traditions and land management practices.

Wichi textile techniques were chosen to represent Argentina because of their symbolism and exemplary self-sustainability.

In fact, for the Wichi people there is no "I". For them there is only "us". Each of them considers their existence as part of a whole and, therefore, weaving has a metaphorical connotation which relates to their way of life.

The textiles and yarns to be presented at the London Design Biennale are created with chaguar leaves, a native species which grows without human intervention and cannot be cultivated. After thorns are removed, hand-picked leaves are crushed in a stone mortar, extracting chlorophyll so the fibre gains a raw color.

Next, the fibre obtained is dyed with extract from bushes of The Impenetrable Forest in order to make balls of yarn.

The last step is to knit finished yarns, creating patterns which evoke the powers of nature.

It is estimated that 200,000 visitors will attend the Biennale, which is expected to receive wide press coverage. The team of curators has been invited to give a presentation on the textile investigation at several universities and cultural institutions.