Exhibit: Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali
Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali – February 5, 2010—May 2, 2010, The Museum of Craft and Folk Art, 51 Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco, CA 94103. Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali gives long overdue recognition to contemporary Malian fabric artisans and highlights the enduring significance of textiles as a major form of aesthetic in Mali. Featuring works beyond the mudcloth tradition, this exhibition seeks to showcase contemporary styles and techniques which have yet to be shown in the US. With superb examples of dress, and accompanying photographs, Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali will document hand-dyed as well as factory-printed cloth. Social issues such as empowerment of women, the status of dress, women’s identity, and current trends in fabric design will be explored.
Due to the expository role of cloth in daily life, both hand-dyed and factory printed kinds of popular fabrics reveal current and constantly evolving cultural trends. The pictorial nature of the prints allows the wearer to express unique and equally critical messages, such as political attitudes, educational institutions and affiliations, or social views, and public health concerns. Although the shapes of the garments remain fairly constant, the colors, patterns, designs and messages of the cloth are constantly transforming. In addition to the cloth and clothing, Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali showcases other forms of traditional art and craft from Mali, such as wooden puppets, and the life-sized masked and costumed figures called “marionettes” which act out village legends. Unusual calabashes and baskets are also included to show the wide variety of Malian craft and folk art.