ArtLab @ The Lowe
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Student Curators Focus on Panamanian Artistic Lineage May 3, 2013 through April 27, 2014

CORAL GABLES, FL (April 29, 2013) – From Ancient Art to Modern Molas: Recurring Themes in Indigenous Panamá explores connections within the Lowe’s collection of molas, or traditional blouses, and pre-Columbian ceramic and stone objects from the Gran Coclé and Gran Chiriquí cultures. Curated by University of Miami students in the annual museum studies class, ArtLab @ The Lowe, supervised by Dr.Traci Ardren, Associate Professor of Anthropology, From Ancient Art to Modern Molas is on view May 3, 2013 through April 27, 2014 in the Richard and Shelley Bermont Focus Gallery of the University of Miami Lowe Art Museum.

This year, in addition to their curatorial roles, students researched Panamanian artistic traditions firsthand through an expedition to San Blas islands during the week of spring break. The colorful textiles known as molas are famous for the rich stories they tell about traditional life of the Guna people, native to the San Blas islands. Made for over one hundred years by Guna women, molas are hand-stitched cotton panels and blouses made of multi-colored and multilayered cotton cloth. Guna women make molas as an expression of their identity and say they protect their traditional cultural stories and lessons by constantly revealing them through their art. Designs are derived from aspects of traditional indigenous life along the island chain; stingrays, crabs, and other marine life are popular imagery as are the activities of daily life. Throughout the exhibition, continuities and change can be seen; cultural values continue to be expressed even though the artistic materials or medium have changed.

The student curators of last year’s ArtLab exhibition, Adapting and Adopting: Waves of Change as East Encounters West Modern and Contemporary Japanese Art, were inspired by upcoming television documentary, West Encounters East, premiering on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. and encoring on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 10:00 p.m. on WPBT/Channel2. The documentary film by Executive Producer Stella M. Holmes, examines the fusion of Asian and Latin American artistic traditions in the work of artists of Asian heritage who live and work in Brazil. Follow the film on

From Ancient Art to Modern Molas is the fifth installment in the series, ArtLab @ The Lowe, which provides hands-on museum experience to students, who curate an exhibition from the conceptual state to the final installation. The exhibition series is generously underwritten by Ms. Holmes, an art historian who is President of The Brickellian, Inc., and a UM alumna, whose ongoing support of the ArtLab program has allowed the Lowe to create the perfect teaching laboratory in which to fulfill its primary goal of supporting, extending, and enriching the mission of the University of Miami for students, faculty, scholars, residents, and visitors to South Florida.

The Lowe Art Museum is located on the campus of the University of Miami at 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables. Museum gallery and store hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday noon – 4 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and University holidays. General Admission (not including programs) is $10, senior citizens and non-UM students are $5, and free for Lowe members, UM students, faculty and staff, and children under 12. Admission is free on Donation Day, the first Tuesday of every month. Public Program Admission is $10 for non-members and free for Lowe members. For more information, call 305.284.3535, tweet us @loweartmuseum, follow us on or visit


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