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Stitching Stories: Contemporary Maya Textiles Pop-up Exhibition at LCAC

The pop-up exhibition featured story rugs and embroidered dolls by Maya women from Guatemala. The pieces combine personal storytelling and expression with community identity, while interpreting Guatemala traje in a contemporary context.

Exhibition sponsored by US BANK

For centuries, traje indígena—traditional Maya clothing featuring distinctive hand-woven, hand-embroidered motifs—has served as a creative expression of identity and community. Maya huipiles (traditional blouses) are rich in visual imagery and feature ancient symbols and motifs representing Maya cosmovision, femininity and nature. Through the use of colors, materials and pattern, traje conveys information about the wearer, her social identity, geographic and ethnic origins. The artists combine traje motifs and other elements to create unique, expressive pieces of art that also deeply reflect of Maya culture.

Multicolores is an artist association representing 70+ Maya women artists, organized in nine groups in seven communities across the Guatemalan Highlands. Through embroidery and hooked rugs, these artists explore themes of identity, historical connection, and personal storytelling.

Multicolores’ artists have perfected the art of rug hooking, an American folk art technique. The rugs are made using recycled garments from paca (secondhand) stores that overflow with castoffs from the United States. The embroidery artists fill their hand-embroidered dolls, each one unique, with shredded plastic and fabric scraps that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

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