Skirting Identity: Women and Weaving in Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar

This project is supported by the President’s Fund for Faculty Excellence.

Margaret Hanni Research

The project’s centerpiece is an interdisciplinary exhibition and catalogue examining the social meanings of textiles among selected groups living in northern Southeast Asia, with a specific focus on women’s clothing and the means by which it conveys social status, community values and traditional artistry. The exhibition in the Trustman Art Gallery in spring 2015 explores the societal significance of women’s skills as weavers and the ability of skirts and other textiles worn by women to determine and convey family or individual status, to designate special roles within the community and to express commonly held beliefs within those cultures.

The Exhibition promotes understanding of both the stunning workmanship and the cultural functions of art made by women at a time when traditions and the textiles they represent in these communities are rapidly changing in response to a myriad of outside influences.