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Dunham image

Kain panjang (long cloth used as lower body wrapper; detail)
Java, Yogyakarta
Ann Dunham Collection No. 10








A Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama's Mother and Indonesian Batiks

August 9-23, 2009

For two weeks only this summer, batik patterned textiles from the collection of Ann Dunham, President Obama's mother, will be on view at The Textile Museum. This showing is the final stop of a national tour of the exhibition, which is on view in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York between May and August.

Early in her life, Ann Dunham explored her interest in the textile arts as a weaver, creating wall hangings in earthy shades of brown and green for her own enjoyment. Upon moving to Indonesia in the 1960s with her son Barack Obama, she was naturally drawn to the vibrant textile arts of her new home and began to amass the collection from which the exhibition objects are drawn. Javanese batiks — fabrics decorated using a wax-resist dyeing process — were readily seen on city and village streets in this Southeast Asian nation at the time. The wide variation in the batiks on view reflects the range of colors and of patterns, both classic and contemporary,  that captured her imagination, and provides a window into the rich culture from which these fabrics originated.










© 2009 THE TEXTILE MUSEUM, 2320 S Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008-4088,