(she re-members) siendo somos

Hellen Ascoli

In Residence: May 23 – Jul 25, 2022

Exhibition: Jul 21 – Sep 11, 2022

Beginning in 2016, Hellen Ascoli and her collaborator, weaver and poet Negma Coy, began working on a pedagogical resource for educators in Guatemala that focuses on the knowledge embedded in the back-strap loom; it’s sensorial and embodied practices, it’s materiality and techniques, it’s relation to language, and its formation of and from place. The back-strap loom is a mobile, domestic tool made of wooden sticks. The head of the loom is attached to a tree or post and the feet are attached to a strap that wraps around the weaver’s back. The weaver’s position creates the tension for the loom to operate.  

During Ascoli’s residency at Artpace, “En los hilos encontré” (written in Spanish and Kaqchikel) was completed and pages of the book can be seen projected on the north wall of the gallery as well as throughout the space in gestures created by the artist. (she re-members) siendo somos is grounded by En los hilos encontré (Xinwil pa taq b’ätz’) (In the Threads I Found) with Ascoli returning to this book as a site of learning by positioning herself not as the author but as a constant student. This action prompts her to re-member the experiences of weaving and engaging in questions found throughout the book. Reflections and responses to these prompts are seen throughout the gallery in text, textiles, audio, and photographs.  

What is the vibration of Kaqchikel? 

Are there limits between our bodies and the world that surrounds us? Where do sensation and location touch? What bodies do we inhabit?   

Visitors may participate through touch, movement, and position in three of the gestures created by the artist throughout the gallery.  

You can select one of eight textiles from the north wall, lay it out on the ground in front of the book, and read. These Su’t, or bunding fabrics, are part of Ascoli’s personal collection and represent the San Antonio Agua Calientes, Sacatepéquez and Nahualá, Sololá communities of Guatemala.   

Where are acts of reading and writing manifested?  

Guests can move the textile on Reader by slowly rotating the manual hand crank.  

Where do we encounter?   

the corners speak is activated when the textile’s corners are folded.  

This multifaceted installation is an extension of Ascoli’s previous work that asks viewers to position themselves within what the artist calls ‘weaving worlds’ and to consider the questions asked in In the Threads I Found in a greater context. How do we feel in our bodies? What bodies do we find that complement us? What beings do we want to be? 


Negma Coy 

Luisa González Reiche 

Debbie Medina 

Noé Roquel 

Karl Williamson 


The International Artist-in-Residence program is supported through generous donations from the Linda Pace Foundation, the City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation of the San Antonio Area Foundation, The Parker Foundation, Inc., the Howard and Betty Halff Charitable Fund, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.    


Hellen Ascoli

Guatemala City, Guatemala / Baltimore, Maryland

Hellen Ascoli (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Baltimore, MD) is a weaver; a word that encompasses art, craft, pedagogy, and translation.  

To move different can make us think and feel different. Using the back-strap loom, Ascoli extends her body into tool – material and connects to site, listening to its embedded and embodied knowledge. Through situating herself within this specific knowledge, production, and transmission of the back-strap loom, Ascoli creates open works that engage sensation, memory, and poetry. 

In 2012 she completed her MFA in Sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been shown at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Sevilla, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara, Paiz Biennial in Guatemala City, and Videobrasil in São Paulo. In 2019 and 2020, respectively, her work with Proyectos Ultravioleta was awarded the Focus Stand Prize at Frieze London, and the 1st Iberia Diálogos Award at Arco Madrid where she was also awarded The Illy SustainArt Award.  

She has taught at universities such as Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala and Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in the United States. From 2014–2017 she worked as Director of Education at the Museo Ixchel of Indigenous Dress in Guatemala and contributed to the design of the mediation programs for the 19th and 20th Paiz Biennial. 

See More


Andy Campbell

Los Angeles, California, USA

Andy Campbell is an art historian, critic, and curator whose work foregrounds LGBTQ communities and their archives as wellsprings for alternative histories of art and design. He is the author of two books, Queer X Design: 50 Years of Signs, Symbols, Banners, Logos, and Graphic Art of LGBTQ and Bound Together: Leather, Sex, Archives, and Contemporary Art. Recently he curated (with Patty Chang) Live Artists Live III: Despair/Repair, a performance art program examining catastrophe and healing in the context of the 2020 U.S. election and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. His writings have appeared in Artforum, The Invisible Archive, X-TRA, GLQ, Aperture, and other venues. He lives in Long Beach, California, and works in Los Angeles, where he is an Associate Professor of Critical Studies at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design. 

See More