Mola Art is More Than a Consumer Trend

Laura on January 15th, 2008

I have heard that the Kuna Indian art of mola has reached its height as a fad. This from a veteran in the business who recollects that the textile art of reverse applique, hand designed cut and stitched by the Kuna women of Panama (and a very few men) had its vogue in the early 1980’s. This is when the likes of Niemen Marcus and other large North American retailers were buying, buying, buying and molas were offered in a variety of non-traditional forms such as baseball caps, stuffed animals, tennis racket covers, coasters…you get the idea.

Hmm. I, like many, have realized the circular nature of consumer trends. Whatever the masses have wanted in the past the masses of the future will want again when the “must haves” of the past are reborn twenty or so years in the future.

No matter that the mola is not a must have. I am not burning to see the amazing textile art of the Kuna women commercialized once again. I would rather see a trend toward my conviction which is that the original, hand cut and stitched reverse applique art of the mola is an art form more appropriate for framing with archival materials and hanging with appropriate lighting than carrying around as a stuffed animal.

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