The Inca quipo reimagined into a record of the soul in Arequipa, Peru

The art installation: Almarios

In Arequipa, Peru a modern art installation by artist Kristie Arias takes the Inca ancient knot-record or quipo and turns it into a record of the ‘Soul in Thread’. Each thread represents a moment in her life and through color, size and texture she illustrates the emotions and state of being at that time.

Almarios by Kristie Arias - based on inca-knot records turned into modern art installations that a woman is viewing

From the native fibers of Peru

The Materials

The threads used in ‘Almarios’ are natural Alpaca fibers which are synonymous with the Andean culture. It makes sense that a native of Peru would use these native fiber as the representation of her soul.

The quipo or knot-record

The fibers are knotted similar to how the Incas created their quipo or knot-records. The inca had many layers and branches in their quipo that radiated out from various knotted strands. You can learn more at the Ancient History Encyclopedia website.

quipu, or knot-record (also called khipu), was a method used by the Incas and other ancient Andean cultures to keep records and communicate information. In the absence of an alphabetic writing system, this simple and highly portable device achieved a surprising degree of precision and flexibility.

Ancient History Encyclopedia

The exhibition space: Santa Catalina Monastery

The Monastery

The exposition was installed into the iconic Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa, Peru. The colonial building was the perfect backdrop for this unique installation. The Monastery was built in 1580 and encompasses a full city block with individual houses, kitchens, chapels and more – it is worth a visit.

The dramatic backdrop of Arequipa

The City

From the moment you arrive in Arequipa, Peru your breath is taken away by the volcanoes surrounding the city. Arequipa has many wonderful sites to discover.

Arequipa Airport with the Volcanoes in the distance

In addition to the Santa Catalina Monastery you can visit the iconic white basilica of Arequipa and the Inca Mummy Juanita on display at the Museo Santuarios Andinos. In 1995 Juanita was discovered on Mount Ampato after volcanic activity had melted the mountain snow and ice.