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Empowering Women


A new exhibition opened at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture earlier this month—Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives that Transform Communities. We attended the member’s opening last Friday evening. The exhibition originated at Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art. Here is the description from the Burke’s website:

One Moroccan artist teaches a village of women to read. An embroiderer from India takes out her first loan. A Hutu woman from war-torn Rwanda works with a Tutsi to make “peace” baskets. And a soup kitchen for AIDS orphans delivers meals because of a folk art cooperative’s success in Swaziland. From Africa to Asia to the Americas, female artisans are creating grassroots cooperatives to reach new markets, raise living standards, and transform lives.

Empowering Women provides an intimate view of the work of ten such enterprises in ten countries. This exhibition illustrates the power of grassroots collaborations to transform women’s lives, through inspiring personal stories, stellar photographs and stunning examples of the cooperatives’ handmade traditional arts.

We attended the members’ opening last Friday, heard remarks by sponsors, listened to Latin American music by the duo Correo Aereo, and viewed the exhibition. With so much going on, and so many people in attendance, we weren’t as focused on the exhibition as we would have wished. We will return at a quieter time for a more leisurely look.

Keep in mind (if you’re in the Seattle area) the supplemental event Empowering Women Artisan Market that will take place next month.

On July 20-21, come to the Burke’s Empowering Women Artisan Market, open both Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 3 pm. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet artists from across the globe, purchase a wide variety of artisan-made goods, and get insider knowledge on the Empowering Women exhibit. Expect this market to spill outside the museum, in true street-market style!

Six of the women-run artist cooperatives featured in the Empowering Women exhibit demonstrate their skills in basketry, printing, weaving, and more. Their beautiful pieces will be available for purchase this weekend only. Artisan cooperatives from Rwanda, Morocco, Lao PDR, Nepal, India, and Bolivia are represented.

But you don’t have to wait a month to buy the work of the cooperatives. Some are already available in the museum store. We came home Friday with a woven disk, about 15 inches in diameter, that now sits on our dining table.

Also at the opening was the 314Pie food truck, which we hadn’t previously encountered. It was parked below the museum entrance, where Deke Kotrla served 120 of their delicious pies. Gail had the lamb pie. I took the ground beef pie, which he calls the 4’n 20, as in 4 and 20 blackbirds. Unfortunately, the truck doesn’t generally park anywhere near us. The Delridge neighborhood in West Seattle and South Lake Union appear to be regular weekly sites. Microsoft too. I hope to stumble on it again.


Categories: Museums
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