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August 19, 2011

Embroidered Caribbean Folk Art on Display at Billy Graham Center Museum

Noah

A new exhibit featuring scenes from the Bible depicted in brilliantly colored embroidery will be on display in the Billy Graham Center Museum at Wheaton College today through October 16, 2011.

The exhibit, titled From Eden to Eternity: Embroidered Interpretations of Biblical Stories is a collection of 40 molas, or fabric folk art pieces, from Latin America. The pieces depict scenes from the Bible in vibrant color, from the Garden of Eden to the resurrection of Jesus.

The mola is an art form that originated with the Cuna Indians of the San Blas Islands of Panama over the last 100 years. Cuna women and girls embroider the front and back panels of a blouse by employing direct and reverse appliqué techniques. Each panel of the pair addresses the same or complementary themes, and often requires 40 or more hours of work.

While molas typically depict animals and scenes from the Cuna Indians’ surroundings, some, like the ones displayed in the Billy Graham Center Museum, reflect the Indians’ knowledge and expression of Christianity.

In addition to the 40 panels on display, the exhibit includes finished blouses, a brief video documentary on Cuna art, and a table display on the making of molas. The art pieces are on loan from the collection of Sandra and Bob Bowden.

“We are delighted to have this remarkable art form in our gallery,” says Billy Graham Center Museum Coordinator Eric Durbin.”This series of molas is a colorful representation of the treasures of Latin American expression. These works are authentic, insightful, and utterly charming.”

On Saturday, August 20 at 4 p.m., Scott Persky, “The Steel Drum Guy,” will perform live Caribbean music in the Museum. Original molas will also be available in the gift shop while the exhibit is on display.

From Eden to Eternity: Embroidered Interpretations of Biblical Stories opens August 19 and will be on display through October 16, 2011. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $4 for general admission, $3 for students and seniors, $1 for children under twelve and $10 for families.

The Billy Graham Center Museum is located at 500 College Avenue in Wheaton. The museum offers free parking and is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 630.752.5909.

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