Tucson, Arizona (Wednesday, August 30, 2023)– The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) is proud to present CUMBI: Textiles, Society, and Memory in Andean South America. This exhibition offers a new look at nearly 2,000 years of textile arts from the Andes, a region where weaving has long been privileged for its role in creating social relationships and fostering memory. Its title draws upon the Quechua-language term for exquisitely woven textiles that created social difference and were often remembered in histories, themes central to the exhibition.


Consisting of over 70 artworks, CUMBI presents pieces from the museum’s extensive holdings of Latin American art in dialogue with loans for the exhibition. Ancient weavings and sculptural objects demonstrate the technical skill of historical weavers and suggest how cloth contributed to creating social structures. Colonial-period artworks included speak to the enduring importance of textiles in the colonial Andes–a time of major social transformation. Showing the enduring relevance of textile practices, contemporary artworks–including works by artists with ties to the U.S. Southwest–affirm the vitality of Indigenous Andean textile traditions and their potential for thinking about important issues of our time.


“TMA has long recognized the importance of Andean textile arts, first acquiring and presenting historical Peruvian weavings by the early 1970s,” remarks Kristopher Driggers, Ph.D., Associate Curator, Bernard and Jeanette Schmidt Curator of Latin American Art. “What makes this exhibition distinctive is the dialogue it stages between ancient artworks and contemporary makers. Artists working today underscore that Andean textiles can help us to better understand how members of a society relate to one another and see the ways that memory lives in weaving.”


Visitors to the exhibition will find a presentation organized into four areas. An introductory section, “The Andes: Place and Time,” orients audiences to the region’s geography and history. “Textiles” follows, showcasing techniques and images from historical Andean traditions and considering how knowledge about textiles is created today. This is followed by “Society,” a section that shows how textiles communicate ethnicity, gender identity, and social status in historical Andean traditions, and how textiles reflect social change across time. Finally,


“Memory” speaks to the ways that textiles shape and memorialize both personal and global histories.


TMA’s Jon and Linda Ender Director and CEO, Norah Diedrich commented, “Thanks to Tucson Museum of Art's talented curatorial team, in this instance, Dr. Kristopher Driggers, we are once again able to present a world-class exhibition featuring significant art objects from the present day to antiquity. Moreover, the importance our museum places on connecting the art of the past to the present through thoughtful interpretation and meaningful public programming makes this presentation vastly more impactful to the communities we serve.”


Exhibition Support:
CUMBI: Textiles, Society, and Memory in Andean South America is made possible through the generous support of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation and is presented by Kit and Dan Kimball with additional support from TMA Latin American Art Patrons, Kathi and Doug Sanders, and Bonnie Wehle.


About the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation:
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation recognizes that education and the arts enhance individuals’ lives and communities. Education is centered in the rural Southwest, primarily focusing on scholarships. In the Arts, we make grants, lend and exhibit our art collection. We are strong believers in leadership, innovation, and equality of opportunity.


Exhibition Dates:
October 14, 2023 – February 25, 2024
On view in the James J. and Louise R. Glasser Galleries, Earl Kai Chann Gallery

Featured Contemporary Artists:

• Carolina Araníbar-Fernández
• Miguel Arzabe
• Carolyn Castaño
• Perla Segovia


The exhibition is supported by a series of public programs, including:
• Curator Tour with Kristopher Driggers, Ph.D., Associate Curator, Bernard and Jeanette Schmidt Curator of Latin American Art (Wednesday, October 18, 2023)
• The Royal Inca Tunic: A Biography of an Andean Masterpiece presented by Dr. Andrew Hamilton, Associate Curator, Arts of the Americas, The Art Institute of Chicago (Wednesday, November 15, 2023)
• Curator Tour with Kristopher Driggers, Ph.D., Associate Curator, Bernard and Jeanette Schmidt Curator of Latin American Art (Thursday, November 30, 2023)
• First Thursday (Thursday, December 7, 2023) and Weaving Memory Panel with Perla Segovia and Erika Marquez (Thursday, December 7, 2023)
• Second SundAZe: Family Day @ TMA (Sunday, January 14, 2024)
• Artist Talk with featured contemporary artist Miguel Arzabe (Thursday, January 24, 2024)


Lectures are $5 for non-members; free for TMA members and students with ID. Tours are included with admissions. Registration is required. Visit tucsonmuseumofart.org for the latest news and exhibition highlights.


Upon request, American Sign Language interpretation for lectures can be provided. Visitors can request this service up to two weeks before the date of the lecture. To request this service call Isaí Pacheco at ipacheco@tucsonmuseumofart.org or 520-616-2699.


Upon request, Spanish interpretation can be provided for lectures. Visitors can request this service up to two weeks before the conference date. To request this service, contact Isai Pacheco at ipacheco@tucsonmuseumofart.org or 520-616-2699.


Image Credit lines:
• Inka artist(s), Chuquibamba style, Star Tunic Frontal, 1400 – 1540, dyed camelid fibers. Collection of the Tucson Museum of Art. Gift of I. Michael and Beth Kasser, 2021.30.8.
• Unidentified artist, Ch’ullo (hat), early 20th century, wool, beads. Collection of the Tucson Museum of Art. Gift of Alan and Alice Fleischer, 2002.39.3
• Miguel Arzabe, Llallagua, 2021, woven acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Paul and Cassandra Hazen. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Museum Hours:
Wednesday – Sunday
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


About Tucson Museum of Art
As an institution built upon the original territories of the O’odham, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) acknowledges the Indigenous Sonoran Desert communities, past and present, who have stewarded this region throughout generations.


TMA connects art to life through meaningful and engaging experiences that inspire discovery, spark creativity, and promote cultural understanding. Founded in 1924, TMA encompasses an entire city block in historic downtown Tucson and is committed to developing quality exhibitions, expanding and diversifying its collection, providing arts education opportunities, and presenting relevant and innovative programs while broadening public access to the arts.


The museum features exhibitions of Modern and Contemporary art, Latin American art from ancient to today, Indigenous arts and Art of the American West. A permanent collection of over 10,000 works of art spans continents, centuries and media. TMA’s campus includes five properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, an art education center and research library, the Museum Store and the highly acclaimed museum restaurant Café a la C’Art. TMA is a private 501(c)(3) charitable arts and education organization. For additional information visit TucsonMuseumofArt.org or call (520) 624-2333.