Quilts of Southwest China
Museum of International Folk Art
Santa Fe

art review ABQ, 2017, Vol. 2, p. 14-15

Albuquerque to Santa Fe is not far of a drive, so the anticipation of viewing this exhibit was very high. Living in New Mexico offers so many options for viewing art especially in the city of Santa Fe. To be honest there so many art galleries in Santa Fe, but this is the first time the author has been to this museum. The Museum of International Folk Art is located in the lush desert hills of west Santa Fe. The museum represents the splendor of New Mexico through its architecture and location. Upon walking into the museum, the viewer is immediately struck with the warmth of home with its hand-made crafts at the front leading you to the first gallery space. Moving through room to room one begins to understand the exquisiteness of craft and the craftsman that it requires. The exhibit that was most eye-catching was the Quilts of Southwest China. The art piece first seen is placed strategically in the middle that of the gallery space using the entrance as frame, which is an amazing use of the space. In order to engage in the full effect of the exhibit, the author reviewed the body of work on a more intimate scale.

In the exhibit, Quilts of Southwest China, various artists combine tradition with a contemporize art form of quilts used in China. There has been little attention to these quilts but other scholars and the museum are working to change that. The piece that was most intriguing of the collection was Bedcover 2010 by Mo Aiqun. The piece is made of cotton, silk, and paper. The piece is a bedcover that is appliquéd with twenty cloth squares that have additional appliquéd and embroidered designs. Sunflowers are embroidered on eighteen of the blocks. A rooster and a butterfly on a flower are embroidered on two blocks in the lower right hand corner. The designs the artist used form beautiful patterns. The patterns bring the viewer in and out to examine each block individually and how they work as a whole. The artist uses framing around the cloth squares to centralize the viewers eye. The colors are the traditional red and gold with a touch of black and blue. The colors are what make this piece unforgettable. The designs symbolize beauty and hope in life. This piece related to the feeling of home and the warmth a quilt proves. The artist worked with the mother in weaving and dying the cotton fabric used for the foundation/backing. Upon learning this fact, one can contemplate their experiences with their mother and the foundational impact a parent has. This can also be a reflection of tradition as a special bond between family and culture.

The exhibit had videos, hands on projects, handouts to take home, and even had mandarin in each of the labels. This exhibit would definitely be recommendable. The detail that quilts and displays offer inspire one to go make one of their own. From the scenic car ride to the other exhibits in the museum, this experience offers more to folk art experience. The museum offers many things to different age groups and cultures. It represents the enriched culture of New Mexico and continues to represents folk art as a respected art form.

The Museum of International Folk Art is located at 706 Camino Lejo, on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico, (505) 476-1200.

Victoria Velasco