The Burke Museum is one of only four venues in the United States presenting Toi Maori: The Eternal Thread, an exhibition celebrating Maori weaving. The exhibit, slated for Feb. 4–May 29, highlights how the art form has developed, reasserted, and reinvented itself in recent years. Distinct from the better-known Maori arts of carving and ta moko (tattoo art), weaving is exclusively a women’s art.
The Eternal Thread includes work from more than 40 Maori women artists from New Zealand who use their masterful weaving techniques to create beautiful and intricate objects. Loaned by the weavers themselves, the exhibit features nearly 100 pieces, ranging from magnificent feather and flax cloaks, to finely woven baskets and outstanding pieces of contemporary fiber arts-woven from unusual materials such as emu bird feathers, copper, paper, and abalone shells.
Opening weekend activities include Saturday demonstrations of weaving, Maori skin tattooing and carving; plus a lecture by Darcy Nicholas, director of Pataka Museum of Arts and Culture in New Zealand and a panel discussion featuring Northwest Coast and Maori weavers. On Sunday, demonstrations continue, and there will be special presentations by carvers and tattoo artists. Demonstrations continue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday–Wednesday, Feb. 6–8.
The Eternal Thread was organized by the Pataka Museum of Arts and Culture in partnership with Toi Maori Aotearoa and Roopa Rananga Whatu o Aotearoa (the Maori weavers collective) of New Zealand.
As a complement to The Eternal Thread, the Burke Museum will exhibit a small selection of exquisite robes from its internationally renowned Northwest Coast art collection.
The Burke Museum hours are 10 am to 5 p.m. daily, and until 8 p.m. on first Thursdays. Students, faculty and staff are admitted free with ID.