Olga de Amaral’s tapestries head to Brussels in first ever showing


The prestigious Patinoire Royale/Galerie Valérie Bach in Brussels becomes, for one exhibition, a temple for the pre-Columbian spirit and direct link with the cosmos, through the timeless work of the Bogotá-born artist Olga de Amaral. A selection of some forty works, which covers the last 15 years of a creative life that spans six decades, will be presented in a first-ever retrospective in Belgium.

Her luminous tapestries re-explore the textile tradition of Colombia’s early inhabitants by directly quoting colors, shapes, graphics and materials of an ancestral world as well as, using gold, silver leaf and natural pigments such as indigo, amaranth and turquoise.The exhibition will be presented against a backdrop of Andean music.

In the service of a meticulous textile practice and innate taste for interlacing mosaics and mats, Olga de Amaral is an artist of immense visual determination. Her tapestries are a poignant testimony of immense civilizations which disappeared in the first half of the 16th century.

The work of Olga de Amaral is characterized by a high degree of homogeneity and integrity. Without any finality other than being decorative, the process of weaving, cutting and combing textile fibers, sometimes freed from linen straps or organized by falling wire curtains, are as much surprising techniques directly inspired by the ethnographic know-how of Amerindian civilizations. Her work therefore constitutes a timeless production.

This sacred perspective is invested in the murals and tapestries that will be shown in Brussels and result a creative process similar to that of prayer or meditation. Each of Olga de Amaral’s works appears in its uniqueness and originality, as the narrative of an inner journey, recounting joys and sorrows. Yet, despite her international reputation, Olga continues to practice her craft as a selfless seeker of aesthetic. To contemplate a work of Olga de Amaral is to be dazzled by the light of a spirit, hence the appropriate title of her Belgium debut: Light of Spirit – Olga de Amaral – A retrospective.

Olga de Amaral studied fabric art at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan before marrying Jim Amaral, a California-born design illustrator and carpenter. As a founding member of the textiles department at the Universidad de los Andes in 1965, Olga went on to earn a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973, and in 2005 was named “Artist Visionary” by the Museum of Art and Design in New York. In 2008, she was honorary Co-Chair for the benefit of the Multicultural Audience Development Initiative, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Amaral has exhibited around the world and the full range of her work is represented in the collections of over forty museums including the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Museum of Modern Art (Moma) New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan an Renwick Gallery of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Patinoire Royale/Galerie Valérie Bach – 15 rue Veydt. Brussels.

Light of Spirit runs from March 30 to June 16.


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