Second Skins juxtaposes two separate traditions of fabricating vibrantly graphic clothing from the inner bark of trees: one shared by diverse peoples who live in and around the Ituri rainforest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the other produced by the Ömie of Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific. Focusing on twentieth century and contemporary iterations of possibly ancient traditions, the exhibition will explore barkcloth’s contemporary “migration” from the body to the gallery wall, highlighting the genre’s artistic inventiveness and the differing ways the two traditions have interacted with the international art market.
This exhibition is curated by the Fowler Museum team of Roy Hamilton, senior curator of Asian and Pacific collections; Gemma Rodrigues, curator of African arts; and Marla C. Berns, Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Director. Major support comes from the Barbara and Joseph Goldenberg Fund and the R. L. Shep Endowment. Additional funding is provided by Bedhead Pajamas.