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Posts Tagged ‘indigo’

May 18 is Día Internacional de los Museos (International Museum Day).  Instituted in 1977 by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the goal is to raise awareness of the role museums play in “cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”  Traditionally, the primary mission of museums has been collecting, conservation, communication, research, and exhibition.  However, according to the ICOM:

Museums have transformed their practices to remain closer to the communities they serve. Today they look for innovative ways to tackle contemporary social issues and conflict. By acting locally, museums can also advocate and mitigate global problems, striving to meet the challenges of today’s society proactively. As institutions at the heart of society, museums have the power to establish dialogue between cultures, to build bridges for a peaceful world and to define a sustainable future.

The museums of Oaxaca seem to have embraced this expanding and dynamic role — exemplified by this past winter’s exhibition at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, Intervención Índigo, created by Laura Anderson Barbata, in collaboration with The Brooklyn Jumbies, Chris Walker, and Jarana Beat.

Performance and textiles meld the Zancudos (stilt walkers) of Zaachila, Oaxaca with the Afromexicano devil dance of Guerrero, the color indigo (a natural dye important to indigenous cultures in both Mexico and Africa), batik and beading techniques of Africa, with political commentary about the realpolitik of the African diaspora in North America.

Indigo is one of the oldest natural plant based dyes, used all over the world and ritually embedded with symbolism and spirituality; power and nobility…. Barbata employs textiles hand woven and dyed in Burkina Faso,Guatemala and the United States. The color historically represents absolute truth, wisdom, justice, and responsibility.

So, get thee to a museum near you — you will, no doubt, be enriched, enlightened, and maybe even empowered.

 

 

 

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Today the Museo Textil de Oaxaca is celebrating its seventh birthday with live music (of course!), nieves (ice cream), and an expo-venta of tie-dye and batik textiles from Nigerian born, Gasali Adeyemo.  The exhibition and sale culminate a week-long artist-in-residence, in which he taught a 5-day workshop — I’m kicking myself I didn’t take it — and a Friday evening presentation, “African Blues, Mi Vida en Indigo” — which I did attend!  Gasali’s work is spectacular and his face glows when he talks about the traditions, technique, and love that goes into his work.

P1080889P1080985P1080984Note the orange blouse above; it beckoned to me and I couldn’t resist buying it.  The technique is batik on a brocaded cotton that has been dyed with the bark of a tree found in Nigeria.  The name of the tree in the Yoruba language is Epo Ira, which, according to Gasali roughly translates to, “tonic iron tree,” as it is also used medicinally to cure iron deficiency.

By the way, for those of you who are going to the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, NM in July, Gasali and his beautiful textiles will be there.

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