Maria Ignacia Walker is a jewelery artist from Chile. She obtained her
first degree in Advertising at Universidad del Desarrollo in 2007, Chile.
In October 2015 she graduated from Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School
in Florence, Italy and 2018-2019 she has been invited to Oslo as an
artist in residency at KHIO Art Academy to Loupe Studio, PMQ, Hong Kong.
Since graduating, she has impressed the audience with her unique jewelry
and body-related objects. Through a myriad of small pearl-like spheres
she ties together a peculiar tissue, an intricate structure of cells
that becomes a kind of extra skin. The poetic work is fascinating and
gave Maria Ignacia Walker the PLATINA exhibition prize at the Benaki
Museum during the Athens Jewelery Week 2018.
Trawa is a collection by Maria Ignacia Walker woven from resin cells and
silver dust, which attentively observes an instant of change and exchange.
The Mapuche people, who today inhabit the south of Chile, were the only
indigenous group in the American continent which managed to resist the
Spanish conquest and thus kept their sovereign territory. Since then,
they have been subject to an endless string of transformations throughout
their history. One of these sea changes has been the rise of silver jewellery.
From the beginning, commercial exchanges between Mapuche and Spanish were
done with silver coins coins which, back then, built economic hegemony
through conquered territories. Nevertheless, the Mapuche understood wealth
as abundance and not as a means to earn and hoard. For this people, coins
did not carry monetary value as much as experimental value. The metal
was melted, shaped and hammered to give it a new pattern of existence.
Thus it returns to a primal state and regains its inherent preciousness
through jewellery pieces of distinction and ornamentation that
draped over female and male Mapuche bodies until the present day. We refer
to the ornate earrings, prominent necklaces and round clasp-pins with
which they fasten their clothes.
Trawa awoke from this gesture of material resistance. Silver remains on
the body as a sign of strength of its bearer, as an object which situates
itself as a subject. This collection seeks to evoke a sense of protection
through jewel-amulets that serve as a second skin, through a meticulous
manual process that turns silver dust into delicate woven threads and
With her work, the artist continues to explore and consider the organic
limits of the body through new materials. These are pieces that remind
antique Mapuche ornaments, seeming to melt into the skin in fine layers
of thread. They rise, too, as fragments of the body, blooming subtly to
the surface. Memory inhabits the skin and becomes a silver mantle.
FLOR DE PIEL
In ancient times, the human body signified itself as a micro manifestation
of the macro universe, a system of repetition in which everything that
happened above and around was replicated in its being. And it is the macrofull
of energy, of cycles, of phases dictated by the movement of the stars,
by the breaking and making of beings what was thought to be found
in a human being. But how could these deaths and births replicate within
Skin has an unmatched vital cycle. It is a barrier between a being and
the world, permeable, shifting, and breakable; it can eliminate through
its pores water, bacteria and cells which the body needs to rid
itself of in order to regenerate. Energies, cycles, phases branded by
elements within ourselves and around us could this be a manifestation
of what happens on a macro level?
Maria Ignacia Walkers work is an obsessive study of the human body
through layers, textures, colors and temperatures. This is why in her
series Flor de piel this pronounced, porous and changing layer is so evident,
coating the skin and giving it its sustenance and release. It is a way
to constantly remind the spectator, like flowers in spring and the earths
cycles, of the workings within the human being on a daily, physical and
unconscious basis. Each cell births itself from another. They are all
born independently and will then give birth to corporeal tissue. Maria
Ignacia Walker recreates them artificially, with different shades and
textures, directly conjuring up the making of skin.
Her technique is one of the most ancient onesweaving. In advance
she must craft her materials through a complex process that requires a
different timeline, a time of creation in which the transparent thread
is tightened with resin, creating small drops of varying sizes, as varying
as our intrepid universe. These micro-orbs are dyed with pigments that
attach themselves to the thread and are joined together by crochet. Through
this same process many of the spheres get released, just like cells that
regenerate while others immerse themselves in each piece, creating artificial
tissues that envelop the body in the shape of necklaces, gloves, brooches
or masks. Thus, weaving and linking, an ode to generation regeneration
is born, making evident the cyclic course of life, human beings and the