Saturday, March 10, 2007

Trunk Show: Wearable Art Jackets

Designed and handmade by Burmese artist and poet Kyi May Kaung
Modeled by cafe regulars

Friday, March 30, 6:30 to 8:30pm
Space 7:10 at Kefa Cafe
963 Bonifant St. in downtown Silver Spring

I am thinking back to the genesis of this particular artistic activity of mine, and find I can trace it to two monologues on stage which I did in 1994 at Annenberg Center in Philadelphia. In one of these, “Head Turned Backwards,” based on one of my poems, I unpack a suitcase full of clothes that I had meant to take home with me, while talking about my grandmothers. I wore a jacket made of the cut up parts of my old Burmese clothes that no longer fit.

I decided to make jackets out of the fabrics I have collected on my travels, mostly in S.E Asia.
It is important to remember that I am not a tailor or a dressmaker who makes finely tailored, fitted and highly constructed, padded clothes. I am a poet and artist who sometimes makes poetic and metaphorical clothes. Due to my aging, I no longer do fine stitching or embroidery. I don’t want to contract out and be an employer of sweatshop labor. So I make everything on my own, minimizing seams and leaving in minor defects, because as the Turkish carpet makers say, “Only God is perfect.”

I make the jackets to complement everyday clothes such as the little black dress and the blue jeans, because I think clothes should make the wearer feel secure, covered and more truly herself or himself. I make jackets to read my poetry in.

I am against anorexia and make clothes for the mature woman. —Kyi May Kaung