FTM stages MADE IN MEXICO exhibition highlighting the art of the Rebozo

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-07-30 17:00:00 – London

The Fashion and Textile Museum (FTM)founded by iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes, the centre showcases a programme of changing exhibitions exploring elements of fashion, textile and jewellery. This summer the Fashion and Textile Museum stages the first-ever exhibition ‘MADE IN MEXICO’ which highlights the art of the rebozo – the classic shawl woven made famous in 20th century culture by artist Frida Kahlo.

Made in Mexico exhibition explores the key role textile have played in promoting Mexican culture worldwide from the 17th century to the present day. Throughout its history, the rebozo has been appropriated by revolutionaries, artists, writers and collectors who have helped to shape the garment into a symbol of Mexican culture and identity. In Castilian, the word rebozo suggests the act of covering or protecting yourself. The most famous proponent was artist Frida Kahlo (1907–54) whose embracing of traditional costume was a political statement of solidarity with the labourers of her country. Still woven using traditional techniques, the rebozo remains an important emblem of contemporary Mexican life and it is celebrated for the indigenous craft skills involved in its production.

The origins of the rebozo lie in the early colonial period of Mexico, which influenced the artisans of the country to emulate the highly prized embroidered shawls and mantillas of the Spanish. This shawl became a central element of the China Poblana, the traditional women’s outfit of Mexico. The rebozo has since become an integral part of daily life and represents the journey from birth to death, being used as both a baby carrier as well as a shroud. Most Mexican women today own at least one rebozo.

The exhibition is presented in sections which explore: the history of Mexican textiles; key personalities associated with the rebozo – from Frida Kahlo to Grammy award-winning musician Lila Downs; how the rebozo is used and worn; weaving techniques; and, the rebozo in contemporary art and fashion.

Rebozos on display include major loans from: the Franz Mayer Museum, Mexico City; the Museum of Textiles, Oaxaca; the British Museum and rebozos from private collections that have never been shown in public before. Contemporary Mexican and UK artists, photographers, fashion and textile designers also present new work created in response to the rebozo and Mexican textiles – including Francisco Toledo, Graciela Iturbide, Carla Fernandez, Zandra Rhodes and Kaffe Fassett.

The exhibition is open still 31st August 2014, Tuesday to Saturday the timings are 11am – 6pm, Thursdays until 8pm and Sundays, 11am–5pm

The Fashion and Textile Museum aims not just to display and collect items relating to fashion, jewellery and textile design, but to offer inspiration to a new generation of creatives. Now redeveloped and operated by Newham College, the museum is a hub of learning, ideas and networking for the fashion and jewellery industry.

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