Orquídeas Barrileteras (Guatemala)

White Bay Power Station

Orquídeas Barrileteras, the women of Guatemala’s Barrilete Festival, are a group based in Sumpango, Guatemala. Traditionally built and flown by men, Orquídeas Barrileteras is the first all-female group of kite makers, made up of 22 members and spanning 3 generations. November 1st is marked by the annual All Saints Day Barrilete Festival when immense barriletes (kites) are flown to honour the dead. The barriletes are closely tied to the Indigenous Mayan culture within Guatemala and stretch 5m wide. Lovingly and intricately designed, the kites are handmade using cloth, paper, bamboo, tissue, string, and natural materials. Sharing familial stories, cultural themes and many emotions through pattern and bright colours, the kites are flown in a celebration of both life and those who have been lost. 

Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney and the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain.