Artist Armando Sosa’s hand-woven, brilliantly colored tapestries and other textiles present themes and images of Guatemala, where he grew up. In them, he employs symbols and images derived from dreams and memories of traditional icons and figures, both religious and secular – some dating back to his native Mayan or pre-Columbian heritage, others to actual memories of a Central American childhood. Additional visual influences incorporated into his designs include African textiles, European Jacquard patterns and Renaissance tapestry details.
Armando Sosa was born in rural Salcaja, in the Guatemalan Highlands, in 1953. His father was a weaver, and as a young boy he was given the task of guarding newly dyed threads drying on the grass of the riverbank. His task was to protect the threads from being trampled by cows! At the age of eight he began spinning and dyeing thread. At fifteen, he was apprenticed to an uncle, and began weaving shawls and other items of clothing on a simple 4-harness loom. At sixteen, he moved to Guatemala City where he first worked with a compound-harness loom.
From 1970 until 1980, he traveled regularly to various locations in Latin America and the western United States exhibiting his work and giving demonstrations of traditional Guatemalan weaving techniques
In 1993 Armando moved to the Princeton area where he met
several local artists. With their inspiration and encouragement, he began to weave again, building a total of 4 large and complex looms from memory.
Armando Sosa’s textiles are woven on two wooden looms, which he hand-built himself. The larger of the looms is six by six by eight feet in size and has forty-nine harnesses and 1360 threads across. He uses silk and mercerized cotton, as well as metallic threads.