Miguel Arzabe

Johansson Projects presents Miguel Arzabe’s recent works in our online viewing room. These works were produced in 2021 and 2022. The pieces from 2021 were shown in the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery titled “Condór de Cuatro Cabezas / Four Headed Condor.” The latest works were created for Future Fair in New York, May 10-13, 2023. Arzabe’s second solo show with the gallery will take place in the fall of 2023.

During Miguel’s solo show, we hosted a conversation between Miguel and Jill d’Alessandro, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where we learned how Miguel’s signature weaving style evolved from traditional Bolivian textile influences, as well as familial and cultural history, and form the two- and three-dimensional components of his ongoing explorations and considerations.

Double-headed Feline (2023), Woven acrylic on canvas, 50 x 46 inches
La Bestia, Woven acrylic on canvas, 46 X 60 inches

Miguel Arzabe

For this series of work, I started out with two paintings. There is something very appealing to me about weaving a painting that is already fully realized – the composition, the palette – has already been well-considered. These works already have their own presence. I’m aiming to maintain some original integrity of the original work, and bring something new to it by weaving them together.


Miguel weaving “Quemado” in his studio

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La Ofrenda (2022), Woven acrylic on canvas, 78 x 56 inches - Acquired by the Harn Museum of Art
La Pata Cuidadora (2022), Woven acrylic on canvas, 56 x 78 inches
La Pata Cuidadora details

“The goal of art is to have a conversation. I want to share my works and have people derive joy from them and think about their place in the universe.”

Llamas En Yosemite (2022), Woven acrylic on canvas, 56 x 78 inches

Llamas en Yosemite work in progress in the studio. Photos by Rachelle Reichert.

Te Quiero Inti (2021), Woven acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

“Te Queiro Inti” commemorates Miguel’s love for his daughter, Inti. Inti is one of the most commonly used words in Quechua, meaning “sun.” The painting contains traditional textile patterns (frets) to reference landscape features like a mountain, a thunderbolt, and rain.

“Te Queiro Inti” is in the permanent collection of the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Isla Del Sol (2021), Woven acrylic on canvas, 50 x 46 inches
Llallagua (2021), Woven acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

Landscape is such a huge part of not only my artwork but also my life.

This piece above is Llallagua. When I finished it, I was just reading a book about mythical creatures, and when the Spanish chroniclers arrived they made a dictionary of Aymara terms (Incan pre-colonial language). The word for a mythical beast is “llallagua.” So I named this painting Llallagua because I saw animals in the mountains in this painting. There is also a town called Llallagua near the mine my father worked as an engineer. We used to go through that town. So the painting also has a connection to my father.

Para Humber (2022), Woven acrylic on canvas, 60 x 78 inches

“Para Humber” was part of  “Tikkun: For the Cosmos, the Community, and Ourselves
at the Jewish Contemporary Museum in San Francisco through January 2023


Miguel Arzabe Artist Video by Alameda Education Foundation in conversation with Jill d’Alessandro, Director and Curator of the Avenir Institute of Textile Art and Fashion at the Denver Art Museum.

About the Artist