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Cynthia Alberto and Weaving Hand

2018 Artist Fellow

Celebrating Ten Years of MAD’s Artist Studios Program
June 5 – August 5

Since 2008, the Museum of Arts and Design has hosted over 150 contemporary artists, designers, and craftspeople as residents within its Artist Studios Program. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the program, MAD has invited one of its first-ever artists-in-residence, Cynthia Alberto, back to the Museum for a special residency that will activate the sixth-floor Artist Studios with participatory weaving projects and artist-led demonstrations throughout the summer.

An artist, designer, and founder of the Brooklyn-based healing arts studio Weaving Hand, Cynthia Alberto seeks to bridge traditional and contemporary weaving techniques, drawing inspiration from ancient communities of Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Her artwork, performances, and public weaving projects honor traditional and artisanal techniques while also incorporating unconventional materials and a zero-waste philosophy. Throughout her artwork and teaching, Alberto continuously explores the many intersections between weaving and healing, as well as craft and sustainability.

While in residence at MAD, Alberto and her collaborators from Weaving Hand will be at work on two projects: Buhok at Anting Anting and Weaving Together.

Inspired by the use of human hair in the artworks and artifacts of cultures worldwide, Alberto will be creating a new set of weavings, titled Buhok at Anting Anting, directly on looms that have been specially fabricated to serve a dual purpose as altarpieces. Cultures throughout history have associated hair with a wide range of magical and metaphysical qualities, from strength to beauty, femininity, and purity. The hair in Alberto’s project pays homage to the pre-colonial Filipino concept of “anting-anting,” which involves the purification of amulets or talismans used in a number of ceremonial contexts. As part of the project, Alberto will be accepting donations of hair from Museum visitors.

Weaving Together is a communal and participatory weaving installation that will be active for the entirety of Alberto’s residency. It consists of six 8-foot panel looms that have been tethered together to form a circular structure. Visitors will learn how to weave with repurposed fabrics directly on the installation.

Alongside her residency, Alberto will lead two workshops and present an interactive exhibit culminating in a live performance, all of which further invite the public to have intimate and hands-on experiences with her woven creations.


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