Putting Baskets to Work in Southwestern China || 百工之篮 | 中国西南篮子展
I am very enthusiastic about the fact that the second of the Mathers Museum of World Culture‘s three Themester 2015 exhibitions about basketry opens tomorrow (September 1, 2015). It is titled Putting Baskets to Work in Southwestern China (百工之篮 | 中国西南篮子展) and I co-curated it with Dr. Lijun Zhang of the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities. As always, the MMWC staff has worked hard to bring the script and objects and images to life and to get the word out. Support for the exhibition project has come from Themester, a project of the IU College of Arts and Sciences. The exhibition, like its two companions, relates to the 2015 theme @Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet. In the case of the MMWC exhibitions, grouped together as @Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet, we are looking at the changing story of baskets made and used for work and the story of the changing work of making baskets.
The baskets featured in the exhibition were collected for the museum by me during trips made to Southwestern China as a participant in the American Folklore Society‘s China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, specifically its current phase focused on Intangible Cultural Heritage and Ethnographic Museum Practice. (For funders of the ICH project, see here).
I hope that many visitors will get a chance to stop by the museum and see the exhibition. It has been a lot of fun to learn about the rich basket culture of Southwestern China and to find ways to share a bit of it with museum guests, including the students participating in Themester programming.