Rainforest Baskets at Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles June 17th, One Day Only! And, Collector Preview at the Home of Noted Designers June 16th

  • LOS ANGELES, California
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  • June 05, 2012

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Rainforest Baskets

Los Angeles, CA―Rainforest Baskets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, presents a showing of fine museum-quality contemporary Wounaan basketry from Panama June 17th, one day only, at the Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles (MoLAA) from 11am-5pm.  Two distinctive collections of Hosig Di baskets by the Wounaan Indian weavers of the Darien Rainforest, Panama, will be on offer at MoLAA: the Geometric and Pictorial Collections range in price from $100 to $5,000. And, a special VIP collector preview party takes place June 16th at the home of noted interior designers Karen and Guy Vidal. 

Also at MoLAA, Rainforest Baskets Hosig Di Masterworks Collections features vessels by the most preeminent contemporary Wounaan fiber artists.  Each Masterworks basket requires from many months ranging to four years for its construction, and is priced up to $30,000.  Normally, these rare and exciting objects are available exclusively to leading galleries and collectors, but will be on offer to the public for special viewing and purchase opportunity at MoLAA.  A highlight of the exhibition is a large and vibrant scarlet, indigo, emerald, and gold macaw motif ‘Masterful Macaw and Greenery’ by Miriam Negria, noted for its uncanny detail and valued at $18,500. “This basket was twenty-three months in construction, which is a long time for an artwork to be living in the rainforest with all the challenges it faces during that time―creatures, humidity, sun, flooding, daily life, children,” said Rainforest Baskets Gallery Director Jennifer Kuyper.  At fifteen inches high and twenty-three inches wide, ‘Masterful Macaw’ is “quite an accomplishment, with magnificent colors; it is a formidable, large-scale display piece.”  The works of Negria and her sisters Dalia and Cristina are amongst the most sought-after in the field; the trio are considered seminal in the contemporary Wounaan basket movement. Boasting the longest construction time of the baskets on offer at MoLAA, ‘Midnight Triangles’ by Mitsi Teucama was four years in construction and is the first-ever piece on offer by this new artist.  At ten and three-quarters inches high and twelve and one-half inches wide, the design is a specimen of masterful small stitching, with an exceptionally smooth surface and even shape, offered at $8,000.

Indigenous to the Darien rainforest in Panama, the Wounaan Indian tribe numbers just under 10,000 members.  Their weaving is prized for its bold designs, quality of technique, and the uniqueness of each one-of-a-kind object.  The coil construction method is a historically revered basketry tradition, also seen in the widely collected antiques produced by Native American weavers as early as the 17th century.   Of the work represented by Rainforest Baskets, Kuyper explained: “The patron relationship we have with the Wounaan weavers, paying artists along the way to create commissions that often take several years, allows the very best weavers to work with us.  We are the only entity using this modality with our weavers, and we are proud to say that they are some of the most highly compensated indigenous artists in the world; the makers set the cost of each basket and receive the majority share of the income from gallery sales.  They feel supported in continually pushing their artform to new levels of creativity and intricacy, and passing along the techniques and traditions of basketmaking to their sisters, friends, and daughters,” said Kuyper.  The weavers, mostly women, use gallery income to modernize their homes with materials such as wood and cinder blocks, provide education for their children, and to preserve―and challenge clear-cutting and agricultural destruction of―their fragile natural resource for raw materials: the rainforest. Wounaan basketry represented by Rainforest Baskets is featured in the permanent museum collection of Fomento Cultural Banamex (Mexico City, Mexico) and many highly regarded private collections, including an extensive collection in Beverly Hills which is bequeathed to the Fowler Museum UCLA (Los Angeles). Rainforest Baskets’ Wounaan art has also been exhibited in the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City); Mingei International Museum (San Diego); Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa, Oklahoma); Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC; Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe, New Mexico); and the Craft and Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles.

On their baskets, Wounaan pictorial image vocabulary features rainforest flora and fauna including tropical birds, fish, fruit, butterflies, flowers, trees, jaguars, iguanas, and other plants, animals, and water-dwellers.  Wounaan geometric forms can be traced to pre-Columbian textiles, ceramics, and rock art.  Patterns reflect tribal body painting and cultural ceremonies, such as the ‘double fishhook’ also commonly seen in Native American basketries.  Each basket is handwoven using all-natural elements and vegetal dyes gathered locally.  Two types of Darien palm are incorporated; Naguala, a short, bushy palm-like river grass is thick, sturdy, and used in the core and base of coils, and Chunga, a big-leafed palm tree festooned in six-inch spikes along its trunk, extremely dangerous to gatherers. Employed as a young frond, Chunga fibers are flexible and silken, utilized by the most skilled weavers to form the smallest, finest details of their designs.  These beautiful, museum-quality baskets are ‘timed’ from the inception of the coil to the coil’s completion, and the number of months indicated for a work’s construction does not include the time required for harvest, shredding, bleaching, or dying. 

Listing Information:

Rainforest Baskets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, presents a showing of fine museum-quality Wounaan Indian basketry, by weavers in the Dairen Rainforest of Panama, at the Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles (MoLAA) on June 17th from 11am-5pm. One day only!  MoLAA is located at 628 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach, CA.  Free and open to the public.  Museum members receive 10% off purchases.  For more information, call MoLAA at 562-437-1689 or visit www.rainforestbaskets.com.  

And, June 16th, Rainforest Baskets hosts a VIP preview party at the home of renowned interior designers Karen and Guy Vidal.  Designers and collectors are invited to RSVP at www.rainforestbaskets.com/LA or call 505-920-6712 to attend. Space is limited.

Media Inquiries:

Kristin Carlson

THINK Creative

505-501-2497

k@thinkallday.com

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Contact:
Museum of Latin American Art
562-437-1689


Rainforest Baskets
jen@rainforestbaskets.com
505-920-6712
http://www.rainforestbaskets.com
About Rainforest Baskets

Rainforest Baskets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, presents fine museum-quality contemporary Wounaan basketry from Panama. Gallery director Jennifer Kuyper explains: “The patron relationship we have with the Wounaan weavers, paying artists along the way to create commissions that often take several years, allows the very best weavers to work with us. We are the only entity using this modality with our weavers, and we are proud to say that they are some of the most highly compensated indigenous artists in the world; the makers set the cost of each basket and receive the majority share of the income from gallery sales. They feel supported in continually pushing their artform to new levels of creativity and intricacy, and passing along the techniques and traditions of basketmaking to their sisters, friends, and daughters."


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