Mola Textiles and the Kuna Indians

Unframed The LACMA Blog

Molas come from the kalu Tuipis.
It was a dangerous place
where skilled scissor-users lived…
They were very beautiful women . . . 

—”Black Vulture” recounted by E.G. from Mulatupu

“Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies

Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head

Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she’s gone”

—Paul McCartney; John Lennon

Either of these quotes above could be invoked to describe the mola textiles in LACMA’s Stitching Worlds: Mola Art of the Kuna on view in the Art of the Americas building through the fall. With kaleidoscopic designs and layers of psychedelic colors carefully cut out and stitched together by craftswomen, molas are intriguing modern textiles. The term mola—the Kuna word for “cloth”—refers to brightly…

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Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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