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Rooted in Art

Celebrating Hispanic roots, art, and love in our community.

Rosa Maria Lucar prepares for her October exhibit at Vineland Public Library.
by Gabrielle Capaldo

My grandparents’ living room had my grandpa’s two remarkable, big, vertical embroidered tapestries of two white storks over a light blue background,” Rosa said. “Visiting their house had something special, something that I couldn’t recognize at the time. Now I know—I was falling in love with textiles.”

Rosa Maria Lucar, a self-taught textile artist and current resident of Vineland, is presenting her contemporary textile art exhibit at the Vineland Public Library. Titled “Tierra Adentro,” or “DeepLand,” her art will be on display from October 6 through 28 in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Rosa’s art exhibit invites our people to look at their roots, their values and the contributions in the different fields,” Alfonso Bermudez, Rosa’s husband, said.

Hispanic Heritage Month is an annually celebrated month starting on September 15 and ending October 15. It is a time when the nation recognizes the influences and contributions of Hispanic Americans to the history of the United States.

“It’s a challenge to talk about Hispanic heritage,” Alfonso said. “In our case, the first thing we think about is responsibility. Yes, great responsibility.”

With 19 percent of the population being Hispanic, Alfonso and Rosa feel a duty to share the special roots of the Hispanic people. Moreover, they emphasize that this month is a time to reflect on how the United States was forged from immigrants and how Hispanics can continue to contribute to this nation’s principles of opportunity and freedom.

In the Doris Tripp room, Rosa will display a variety of Hispanic tapestries, vessels, vases and felt works of her own creation. Tapestries inspired by remarkable Peruvian landscapes from Rainbow Mountain to Andean neighborhoods.Vessels molded by the influence of prehispanic Paracas culture. Lovely textiles such as the modern and delicate silk scarf inspired by the Inti, the ancient Incan sun god. But most of all, a particularly impressive and special display that will be present at the exhibit is Rosa’s recreation of the Khipus.

“In past years, I got involved with the Khipus when taking a course in Museo de Sitio Arturo Jimenez Borja at Puruchuco, Peru,” she said. “And a new world appeared in front of my eyes.”

The Khipus was an intricate system of knotted ropes used by the Incas to keep account of products, crops, people and events. As a nod to this historic invention, Rosa recreated this amazing accounting system.

“I have a deep feeling when making Khipus,” she said. “Their emotional energy and spiritual energy emerge to our current life.”

Contemporary Khipus may recreate the history of a family, business, and more, incorporating itself into daily life. The Khipu is an ancient art that represents, not only beauty, but a secret, customized code that only the maker and user can decipher.

Her passion for the Khipu is matched only to her passion for felting, a newly discovered art of hers that she describes as magic. “The process is a spiritual experience with something to reflect upon, if you allow it,” she said.

Her love for felting has led her to take lessons from masters all over the world. One of her felt pieces—the recreation of a Yupana, the ancient Inca calculator—will be on display at the library.

Though her art lessons have taken her to wondrous heights, textiles have always been part of her roots. “I come from a legacy of weaving and embroidery from my mother’s side,” she said.

Growing up, Rosa was always crafting, creating and learning from her mother. Images of her mother embroidering, painting fabrics and weaving still linger in her mind as pleasant memories from her childhood.

“I remember my dad proudly showing us his coat with the beautiful fabric my mother weaved for him,” she said with a smile. “It was spectacular!”

In a time when technology was less accessible, art was something she needed to teach herself. As she got older, Rosa started buying her own craft magazines, attending workshops and, finally, signing up for online courses. “For me, art is not a discipline,” she said, “it is really part of who I am.”

This art that was part of her knew that she would need to rely on its healing powers when, one day, her vision of life and death was questioned. Just 19 months ago, Rosa lost her dearest son, Carlos Yagi. Her son too was an artist, one who was internationally renowned for his large-format, colorful, abstract paintings, which can still be seen today. Art was his passion and the best way he knew to express himself—just like his mother.

To heal from her loss, she turned to her art. “When he closed his eyes, I started weaving and unwrapping all the moments of his life,” she said. “I understand now this is how I can be close to his energy until my time comes.”

This is the story behind her most precious exhibit that will be on display—“Beautiful Boy.” The installation is full of symbolic imagery that encompasses the spirit of her son. From his birth and maturity as an artist to his passing, the piece will display raw emotion through a kaleidoscope of colors.

When asked about the characteristics of “Beautiful Boy,” Rosa described it as “art that flowed from love.” She added, “I couldn’t think to have my first solo-exhibition without honoring him as an artist.”

Rosa will be in the Doris Tripp Room on October 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for anyone who would like to meet her. She will return every day around 6 p.m. until October 28.

“I witness her creativity and talent,” Alfonso said, “and I think it is stimulating for the community to know her work.”

Whether you are a Vineland resident, an individual with Hispanic roots or simply a lover of art, come expand your horizons at the “DeepLand” exhibition—where history, art and love will meet.

“Life is too short for all I want to learn,” Rosa concludes. “But, if someone has a moment of introspection when they look at my work, and they see something in it, for me, that is priceless.”