A visit to the Quai Branly museum – fashion goals for season 2017-18
This museum is not (only) an interesting work of architecture and an homage to the French colonial past and present; it also has some very interesting collections to show. While we won’t attempt to cover all of it all at once, we will turn our attention to these phenomenal dresses from Latin America – a superb study in cultural clashes, where influences from Europe are incorporated into the ethnical art of the local community, producing some truly unique results. Questions we were posing ourselves and were trying to answer at the same time were:
Is it possible to talk of kitsch or kemp when it comes to ethnic art ?
Are we to regard these garments as art in the first place ? They had ritual and religion functions, far from what we consider to be the role of art nowadays.
Related to that, where the religious usage stops and artistic practice begins ? Obviously, religious fetishes are often done with great skill, artistry and inspiration – but, can we apply purely European (and post European) aesthetic judgment on items coming from different cultures ?
In regards to that, would that practice also be a form of (interpretative) cultural appropriation ?
And so on. In any case, enjoy these unique garments for what they are, without trying to hard to read into them.