Author: Matilda McQuaid
This dress, woven by Lydia Novillo in a women’s cooperative in Formosa, Argentina, illustrates the continuation of an important South American textile tradition through a contemporary lens. The tradition stems from the weaving practices of the indigenous people of South America, the Wichi, who live primarily in Formosa, an isolated area in northern Argentina. Originally settling near the Bermejo and Pilcomayo Rivers, they were semi-nomadic, agricultural people who also relied on fishing during the dry season. For centuries they have used the fibers of the chaguar, from the bromeliad family, to weave fishing nets, bags, and other objects, which continue to sustain many of the communities today.