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Posts tagged ‘folk art’

Celebrating Peru at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

I’ve had such a busy summer that I totally forgot to tell you about my “visit” to Peru.  Instead of flying to South America, the art, music, and culture of Peru came to me as part of the 2015 Smithsonian Folklife festival on the National Mall in Washington DC.

Back-strap loom, Peru

Beautiful textile in progress on this back-strap loom.

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Trench Art: Creativity in an Unexpected Place

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are discussing War and Peace.  I think you’ll find some really interesting articles on this topic, so take a look at the bottom of the page for them all.

French World War I trench art

The diverse collection of French World War I trench art at the Musee de Somme 1916 includes painted, cut, shaped, and hammered pieces.

Artists across cultures, time, and place have depicted war, from the vases of ancient Greece to the romanticized paintings of Napoleon’s campaigns.  However a common thread is that these images of battle were created by those not involved in fighting, or were done years after the fact for patriotic or sentimental reasons.  What we don’t often see is art created by soldiers in the midst of battle and experiencing the brutality of conflict.  When they do create, often as a means of distraction, these pieces constitute a tiny genre called Trench Art.

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Exploring China and Kenya at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

It’s not every day that you can walk from Kenya to China, but that’s what I did this Saturday.  Every summer for two weeks, the National Mall is DC is transformed into a center for global culture when it hosts the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.  Over 100 artisans, musicians, performers, and chefs take up residence and share their national traditions with Washington DC.  The rich cultures of Kenya and China were presented this year and I had a wonderful time exploring the festivities!

Folklife Chinese gate

The Flower Plaque gate made of bamboo, paper, and plastic welcomes visitors into the Chinese section of the Festival.

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Ceramic Folk Art from Around the World

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are focusing on National Art – whether iconic styles that remind us of a certain place, or a movements that developed in and became emblematic of a region.   Be sure to check out everyone’s posts below!

Italian olive dish

Simple but very functional, I got this olive dish in Siena, Italy.

Every culture makes utilitarian objects like furniture, clothing and ceramics.  Folk art is decoration applied to these functional items which reflects the tastes of a people.  In addition to seeing works from professional artists in a national museum, I am always on the look-out for local craftspeople or cultural museums that show off local folk art.  As a lens to compare several cultures, let’s take a look at some traditional ceramic styles around the globe.

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