A Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama’s Mother and Indonesian Batiks Kain panjang
Kain panjang – photo courtesy the Textile MuseumFor two weeks only this summer, batik patterned textiles from the collection of Ann Dunham, President Obama’s mother, will be on view at The Textile Museum.Washingtonians and visitors to the nation’s capital will not want to miss this unique look at the Obama family and the Southeast Asian culture from which these fabrics originated.
The Textile Museum is presenting the exhibition in coordination with the Embassy of the Indonesia and co-hosting a gala event with the embassy at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Saturday, August 8.
The exhibition is made possible with the support by President Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro Ng, and her family.
Ann Dunham loved and collected many handcrafted objects, including textiles. As a teenager, she wove wall hangings in earthy shades of brown and green for her own enjoyment. After marrying Lolo Soetoro and moving to Indonesia in the 1960s with her son Barack Obama, she was naturally drawn to the vibrant textile arts of her new home. She began to amass a collection of Javanese batiks — fabrics patterned by using a wax-resist process — from which this exhibition is drawn. These textiles were readily seen on city and village streets in this Southeast Asian nation at that time.
The wide variation in the batiks on view in this exhibition reflects the range of colors and patterns that captured her imagination and provides a window into Indonesian culture.
Location and more information: The Textile Museum, 2320 S Street, Washington, D.C.
Source: TM press-release