Swedish-supported project to exhibit handicrafts in Bangkok

Ethnically-inspired arts and crafts of Sop Moei will be showcased in Bangkok at the exhibition “The World of Sop Moei Arts: Colours of a Matriarchy” which is to take place from May 25 until May 30, 2004 on the third floor, The Promenade Décor, Nai Lart Park Bangkok (Previously known as The Hilton Hotel) on Wireless Road.
     The unique and beautiful handicrafts are produced by Pwo Karen people in Sop Moei District, 280 kilometers west of Chiang Mai, in one of Thailand’s least accessible areas.
     Sop Moei Arts was originally a mother-child health project supported by the Swedish government. But 15 years ago the attention was turned to preservation of arts and crafts of the Pwo Karen, one of Thailand’s smallest tribal groups.
     The handicraft programme started with textiles, hoping that the income from the women weavers would supplement the family’s nutritional needs. In 1992 this programme was expanded to include production of baskets by Pwo Karen men.
     International designers have been employed to inspire the weavers to look at their traditional fabrics and to reinterpret them in new ways. The fabrics are therefore not faithful reproductions of Pwo Karen fabrics, but traditional motives and patterns in new designs.
     Today some of the Karen have developed designing skills to a high level and are able to inspire and teach their fellow weavers.
     The exhibition features textiles in three colours – black, red and white – which are the basic colours of the traditional garments of Pwo Karen. The collection also includes contemporary textile products for bedroom, dining room, and living room.
     Proceeds from the exhibition will go to the craft producers and charity projects.
     For further information, please contact Sommai Lumdual via number 0 9635-7667 or log on to website: http://www.sopmoeiarts.com.

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