Batik and Ikat are patterned cloth-dyeing techniques used in traditional societies throughout Southeast Asia, where textile-making is a significant means of gaining artistic reputation, wealth and status in traditional societies. These techniques, among others, will be brought to life on the University of Miami’s campus Friday evening with the opening of “Weaver’s Stories From Island Southeast Asia” at the Lowe Art Museum. The new exhibit runs through March 29.
Senior Curator for Asian and Pacific Collections at the University of California Los Angeles’s Fowler Museum, Roy W. Hamilton, will begin the evening with a lecture on the background of the weavers whose cloths are featured in the exhibit at 6:30 p.m., followed by an opening reception that will last until 9 p.m.
“Weaver’s Stories” features 26 cloths alongside eight videos that will take audiences behind the scenes to locations in Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor and the Philippines to listen to the stories of the artists. Each video ranges from six to 12 minutes and will play on a loop in the gallery for visitors to view.
Jill Deupi, chief curator of the Lowe Art Museum, said “Weaver’s Stories” is “part of a very cohesive meta-exhibition schedule.”
“This exhibition relates very well to the Haitian and African exhibitions we closed earlier this month because it elevates the genre of textiles … beyond the level of ‘craft,’” she said. “Our two preceding exhibitions accomplished this same important goal, in addition to shedding light on the cultural histories and unique value systems of the artists.”
According to Hamilton, Southeast Asian textiles have made popular art exhibitions for decades.
“Unfortunately no previous exhibition consisting primarily of the textiles themselves hanging on gallery walls, offered much opportunity for visitors to engage more deeply with the lives of the women who made the cloths,” he said. “Weavers’ Stories was developed specifically to address this shortcoming. What does their art mean to them? How did they learn it and how have they negotiated the shifting sands of social and economic change?”
Hamilton’s favorite stories speak about the spiritual power of the cloths or about human relationships and experiences. He cited a story about snake spirits seeking revenge for misuse of a cloth as a memorable example.
The event will be held on Friday at the Lowe Art Museum beginning at 6:30 p.m. It is open and free to all UM students, faculty, staff and Lowe members. Admission is $10 for other guests. Parking is available at the Pavia parking garage.