Textiles: Politics and Patriotism
September 9–April 30, 2017
Gallery 100, Main Building


For centuries, the use of textile designs to promote military, political, and commemorative events has been a common practice of many different cultures. The 11 works on view in Textiles: Politics and Patriotism are reflections of the sentiments of their time or a show of support of the values of the nations in which they were used.

Several of the featured textiles were the result of advancements in printing technologies in Britain, France and the United States that began in the late 18th century. Included in the exhibition are large printed cloths inspired by the 1880 presidential election of James Garfield, Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight to Paris in 1927, and even Theodore Roosevelt’s act of sportsmanship that resulted in new name for a beloved children’s toy.

These advancements in textile production also led to the rise of quilting and provided 19th century women, who did not yet possess the right to vote, a tactile way to express their political views. Two remarkable examples are also on display.

Other patriotic textiles on view were rooted in traditional textile techniques found in a variety of other cultures, including a Mexican flag design woven into a serape, a commemorative adire cloth from Nigeria, a Javanese batik hip wrapper and skirt, and an under robe made from two Japanese Rising Sun flags.

Textiles: Politics and Patriotism is curated by Zoe A. Perkins, textiles conservator.

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