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Write Around PAM: Kuna artist

The Kuna are Indigenous people living in present-day Panama. Mola, the Kuna word meaning “to cover” are hand-sewn, embroidered blouse fronts and backs made and worn by Kuna women. Artists use a technique called reverse appliqué to create Mola, layering two to seven pieces of different-colored cloth together. The artist cuts away parts of each layer to form the design, then turns under and sews down the edges of the layers. Let’s contemplate the Fish Mola and its intricate design technique as inspiration for this week’s freewrite. Learn more about Mola from the Poster Project and make plans to come see and write with them in person.

First, take a few minutes to write about this work. Here are two prompts to help you get started. You can choose one, both, or write whatever else comes. Set a timer for 5 minutes and keep your pen or pencil moving.

Between the layers… / The first thing I noticed…

Now, read back over the piece you just wrote. Take a moment to underline words or phrases that stand out to you, that you find interesting or surprising or just like how they sound. “Cut away” the rest of the piece, and see what remains.

On a new piece of paper, write out your list of words or phrases and see what new story they want to tell. Set a timer for another 5 minutes and create something new. 

Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past Sunday posts and look for continuing weekly posts through the year. Please share your work with us!  @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM

Kuna artist, Fish Mola, cotton, Gift of Barbara Christy Wagner, no known copyright restrictions, 2016.109.1