February 25- March 20.
Opening reception, Sunday February 25th, 6-10 PM
In Latin America the Quechuas amount to 10-12 million people. Their language originated in the 5th Century in the center and West areas of what is now Peru. By the 15th century, the Lengua General (General Tongue, the denomination given to the dominant spoken Quechua) was established as the official language in the Inca Empire.
The Quechua language lacks an original written archive and its contemporary structure has been impacted by a myriad of changes, variations, repressions, prohibitions and linguistic mergings (mainly with Spanish and Latin).
The first accounts of attempting to establish a written register of the Quechua language date from 1540 by Fray Domingo de Santo Tomas a Spanish priest. His writings on ‘Quechua’ relied on the Latin alphabet and attempted, through phonetic transcriptions, to map a written archive, or rather, attempt a translation of the language. He published his Grammatica o Arte de la Lengua General de los Indios de los Reynos del Perú (Grammar or Art of the General Language of the Indians of the Royalty of Peru) in 1560.
In 1608 Diego Gonzalez Holguin published the Vocabvlario de la lengua general de todo el Peru Llamada Quichua o del Inca, written in Spanish, attempting, again to translate and capture the rich nature of Quechua language. 
In 1975 Peru became the first country to recognize Quechua as one of its official languages. Ecuador conferred official status on the language in its 2006 Constitution, and in 2009, Bolivia adopted a new Constitution that recognized Quechua and several other indigenous languages as official languages of the country. The major obstacle to the usage and teaching of Quechua is the lack of written materials in that language, such as books, newspapers, software, and magazines. The Bible has been translated into Quechua and is distributed by certain missionary groups. Quechua, along with Aymara and other minor indigenous languages, remains essentially a spoken language.
In this text and exhibition we will deal, yet again, as we usually do at CENTRAL FINE, with the power of language, its impotence, its dictatorial tendencies and its capacity to elude and embrace itself. We will approach Language’s oppression, abstraction and fluidity. We will also observe, although briefly, the Quechua language’s potential to convey tactility, as well as its capacity to bypass imperialistic notions of grammar, readings and their suffocating borders.
Jesus Casimiro’s textiles are made by a self-devised weaving technique called Cateña that alludes to Luracatao , his birth-town. The people in Luracatao are called Cateños, which imbues Casimiro’s weaving approach with a societal texture.
As mentioned earlier, the Quechua language lacks a unified and autonomous written archive and as such has relied mainly on oral transmission and a codification of phonetics, grammatical structures, patterns, weaving techniques, symbolism, world views, and what appears to be or look like ‘abstraction’ for it’s preservation and dissemination.
A key aspect in this exhibition is the role of color in the Quechua language and traditions. Color has been codified and charged, specifically, in a way that conveys a vast array of associations, concepts, ideas. Put together this way colors can, and do, narrate stories.
Let’s take a look at this: The Quechua spoken in Salta (Argentina) differs from the Quechua spoken in Jujuy (Argentina), Peru, Bolivia, etc. What these variations share is an attempt at codifying society and nature through practices, what we call art, forms, colors, symbols, visual patterns and the mythological. In short: In th arts, abstract signs are preserved by the Quechuas as means of livelihood, communication, integration, and preservation of the identity of an oppressed and silenced group of people.
Such abstractions, far from being part of the ‘empty signs of abstraction’ or mere formalism, will show up in patterns, ceramic objects, choice of materials, as ways to comprehend the symbolic, the imaginary and the real as one.
Casimiro’s body of work takes on the tradition of Quechua textiles and moves through its parameters weaving a personal approach that distances itself from what we understand as craft. This way it enters, perhaps, what we call contemporary art, and in that resistance to the stratification of tradition, his praxis meet what we could see as opt-art, abstraction, etc. His weaving technique, (Devised and developed by Casimiro, and furthermore, named by the artist as Cateña, as mentioned earlier), deals with political, sociological, historical and religious problems.
His work, then, touches on the notion of Origin, the Original, etc. How? Well, the word of his invented weaving process refers to the name given to the people born in his native Luracatao. There are Casimiro's origins at stake here as well as the original ways of ancestral traditions in textile-making. Or the invention of one’ weaving, of one’s intersection within a sum of political and social knots and fibers.
Determined by color and its associations, Casimiro organizes his textiles in a chromatic lexicon pertinent to the Quechua culture, establishing linguistic relationships: In the symbolism and the codification of color in Quechua textiles, Red embodies a type of wisdom that is self-evident to the eye and a lack of red indicates times of peace. Green will point to agriculture, fauna, flora, and the contact with the Mother Earth or Pacha Mama, and so forth.
White signals a type of intellectual labor, clarity of observation, a type of serene objectivity and the base of reality. Black stands for Time, Purple stands for Social Organization (Ayllu).
Casimiro’s works tell an “unwritten” story through pattern and color, while remaining specific and open-ended. His are abstract textiles built on a codification of color that could be read by the Quechuas. To us, they remain sustained in themselves, communicating a sum of associations vastly different from the stories they carry.
In Rio a bulging Black, blue and red textile, form undulates as a River. This river, with its red knots, is a sick river, running through time, indicating pollution as blood, and its impact on agriculture, as explained by Casimiro.
In Kenko, we see a 3d woven pattern that represents the trajectory of routes surrounding the mountains in Salta, Argentina. Those paths, with their sharp quebradas (Breakages) are the routes that the Quechuas must walk in order to work, or to return home after work. This is a story narrated in lines of color, implying the sun, the topography of mountains, labor, etc.
In Paisaje Telurico, (Telluric Landscape) a free standing textile is pierced by threads of colored wool coming down from the ceiling, as rays that cross what looks like a group of valleys and mountains, which in turn, expands itself into the floor. This landscape is seen floating between the ground and the sky, sustained by the codification of color and threads, knotted in a chain of associations that point to a continuum of signifiers.
This is key to understand the Quechua point of view: What we call the symbolic, the imaginary and the real are all interconnected and unified in a thread that considers them, all, as one.
Casimiro’s body of work presents the body of language under the oppressive force of dominant bodies, tongues and grammatical structures. His textiles are constructions and planes of resistance that, through the use of what we read as abstraction, provide avenues for sustaining themselves in a poetic space that is an actor, a witness and an archive to a worldview by a large and silenced group of people. This ‘silence’ is cryptic (to us) and yet vibrant, defiant, charged by symbols, labor, mythologies. This ‘silence’ exists as protest, as tradition, as a Chaya, manifesting what survives and thrives as a speech that is alive, changing, unwritten, permeable, and clear.
Diego Singh, Miami, 2018.
Jesus Casimiro was born in 1968 in Luracatao, Salta, Argentina. His works have been presented widely in Argentina and abroad, and he is considered to be one of the great textile artists in the country. A selection of his numerous institutional exhibitions include: Pushka in Time, at the Palais de Glace, Buenos Aires; Latin American Textile Artists, Museo Nacional de Etnografia, La Paz, Bolivia, etc. Casimiro's textiles have been shown at the Museo de Bellas Artes, House of Arias Rengell, Salta; the Museo Latinoamericano, Salta among others.
He has been awarded the prestigious Acquisition Prize at the National Biennial of Textile Artists in Argentina and has been selected as the awardee in the exhibition Contemporary Art and Textiles at the Museo Nacional de Etnografia in La Paz, Bolivia.
Casimiro has been a Juror for the Textile Arts Awards the Auchan Center in Lille, France.
He will present on March 7th, a publication on his work titled Arte Calchaqui, in conjunction with the exhibition Escultura Mutante at the department of Cultural Affairs at la Casa de Salta in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is his first solo exhibition in the United Sates and the first at CENTRAL FINE.
 Quechua: (/ˈkɛtʃuə/, in AmE also /ˈkɛtʃwɑː/), known as Runasimi ("people's language"). The Quechuan language, is an indigenous language family, with variations spoken by the Quechuas primarily living in the Andes and highlands of South America. Derived from a common ancestral language, it is the most widely spoken language of indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of some 10-12 million speakers. Approximately 25% (7.7 million) of Peruvians speak some variation of Quechua. It is perhaps most widely known for being the main language of the Inca Empire. The colonisers initially encouraged its use, but from the middle of their reign they suppressed it. However, Quechua ultimately survived, and variants are still widely spoken today.
 Gonzalez Holguin, Diego: Vocabvlario de la lengua general de todo el Perv llamada qquichua o del Inca. See dowloadable PDF here: http://www.memoriachilena.cl/archivos2/pdfs/MC0033185.pdf
 Luracatao: A village and rural municipality in the Salta Province in northwestern Argentina.
 Chaya: The Chaya implies a strong reaction against imperialistic tendencies, aiming to protest and to preserve marginalized cultural manifestations. Traditionally, the Chaya, is delivered as a protest in an oblique way: By poeticizing nature, financial need, or addressing imperialistic abuse and racism, political issues are expressed via the camouflage of the voice and music, in songs, in the northwest of Argentina.