Patterns Past and Present: Arts of Panama

August 12, 2014 - October 4, 2015

In conjunction with the University of Florida's commemoration of the centennial of the Panama Canal opening, this exhibition celebrates the artistic heritage of indigenous peoples of Panama. Exquisite works in gold, ceramic and stone produced by ancient Panamanian cultures predating European conquest, are juxtaposed with an array of twentieth-century appliqued textiles called molas made by the Kuna people of eastern Panama.

Ancient works from cultures in west and central regions, with their refined formal qualities and diversity of mediums and styles, are evidence of the wealth and prestige of powerful chiefs who also functioned as religious leaders. The molas of the Kuna reflect ancient practices and ideas, as well as adaptation to vast and rapid changes in Panama, mainly stemming from the construction of the canal.

Divided by several centuries, these works share common traits of deriving inspiration from nature as well as envisioning the supernatural world. Both ancient and modern art feature brilliant, maze-like designs that demonstrate blending keen observation of nature with a mastery of abstraction. In both ancient and modern societies, art provides us with a worldview expressed with a transcendent aesthetic.

This exhibition is made possible by the George A. Smathers Libraries and Copa Airlines, The University of Florida Center for Latin American Studies and the US Department of Education with additional support from the ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Harn Program Endowment.

Exhibition Extras

 

UF Panama Canal Celebration

This exhibition was a part of a UF campus-wide celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Panama Canal and one of many exhibitions and programs taking place. Learn about the other activities at UF.

Exhibition Materials

View additional information and the checklist of works in the exhibition here.

image: Panama, Mola with A Mother and Child, c. 1960

Event

 

MUSEUM NIGHTS

Thurs., Sept. 10, 2015
6 – 9 p.m.
Activities on this evening will revolve around Latin American art and culture, including the exhibition Patterns Past and Present: Arts of Panama. In addition to art making and tours, visitors will enjoy dance performances and the opening film for the Latino Film Festival.

PAST EVENTS

MUSEUM NIGHTS

Thurs., Nov. 13, 2014
6 – 9 p.m.
"Patterns Past and Present:
Arts of Latin America"

 
Slideshow Images
Ceramic works:
(left) Unknown, Panama, Shark Design Pedestal Bowl, ca. AD 1000, loan from the Orlando Museum of Art; Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Glen E. Murphy and Family

(right) Unknown, Panama, Feline with open mouth whistle, n.d., on loan from the Panama Canal Museum Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.
(detail) Kuna People, Panama, Mola with Flute Players, c. 2000, on loan from the Panama Canal Museum Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.
(detail) Kuna People, Panama, Mola with Iguanas, 20th century, on loan from the Panama Canal Museum Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.