Programs

South Asian Literature and Art Festival

The South Asian Literature & Art Festival, presented at Montalvo by Art Forum SF in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Institute of South Asian Studies, was the Bay Area’s first festival dedicated to showcasing contemporary reflections of literature and the arts from the subcontinent. The festival featured books and readings, hands-on art activities, writing programs, art exhibitors, folk artists, Bollywood pop-up dancers, bhangra rhythms, and other dance interludes—all interspersed with delicious food stations representing the flavors of South Asia. Click the button to view the festival's marketing program. Image Gallery Participants Partners and Sponsors Threads: Weaving Humanity was made possible through the support of the…
Programs

The Mending Project

The Mending Project is an interactive installation featuring several simple elements—thread, color, and sewing—as a point of departure to create meaningful connections between strangers. Originally conceived as an installation that would bring people together in conversation, The Mending Project was produced by internationally acclaimed visual artist Lee Mingwei and premiered in 2009 at Lombard-Freid Projects in New York. The work has since been shown in museums nationally and internationally and continues to be a catalyst for connection. The Mending Project at Montalvo ran from September 19 - December 8, 2019. The community was encouraged to bring a garment or textile…
Programs

Threads: Weaving Humanity

On July 19, in a celebration throughout the Montalvo grounds, Montalvo premiered Threads: Weaving Humanity, featuring four newly commissioned works of textile by five artists whose work redefines fiber arts. These works were created to provide opportunities for contemplation, consideration and conversation on the meaning of our shared humanity, and what is necessary for humanity to thrive...This includes kindness, compassion, integrity, respect, empathy, forgiveness, and self-reflection. Highly sensitive to the elements, fiber works are traditionally displayed inside carefully controlled environments of galleries and museums. Serving as an analogy for our human vulnerability, Threads: Weaving Humanity places these works outdoors, where we can witness and appreciate the…
Programs

A Common Thread

"In providing skeins of multicolored yarn and needles to my talented, multifaceted refugee sisters—who otherwise spend their time counting long, torturous days in flimsy crowded tents, at the mercy of inclement weather and fellow humans in power—my hope is to help them create space in their minds where they may otherwise have none: crocheting their meditative states into beautiful flowers. My choice to use the colors from the rainbow as a macro representation of their delicate, detailed and breathtaking meditative stories comes from my displaced sisters themselves. When it was time to pick yarn, it became impossible to choose a…
Programs

Caravan

Within Montalvo’s Italianate Garden and along the Great Lawn, you will find Caravan by Hellen Ascoli, an artist, weaver, and mediator living and working in Guatemala City, Guatemala and Madison, Wisconsin. Since her migration from Guatemala to Madison, Ascoli continues to ask herself, How do you rebuild and remember at the same time? How do you make sense of where you are, when you are so deeply invested elsewhere?Caravan is a reference to movement both internal and external, both physical and emotional. Today, “caravan” also carries political overtones meant to incite fear of the migrants at our southern border, while…
Programs

I Dreamed About Walking in the Sky

In these brightly hued and hand-embroidered panels, visitors read the concerns, hopes, and dreams of the artist as she considered the questions facing humanity today. Bangladeshi artist Yasmin Jahan Nupur has worked with jamdani, a centuries-old and disappearing fine weaving technique, which she uses to express individual and collective memories across time and space. In this work, whose draping forms are inspired by the memory of freshly-dyed fabric drying in the sun, the artist took a new approach to working with the jamdani by adding hand-embroidered text, bringing a traditional art form to bear on the contemporary themes addressed in…
Programs

Forgiveness, the Misplaced Grace

At the base of the Great Lawn at Montalvo once sat four statues atop pedestals, referencing the four seasons. Today, the fourth pedestal is empty, its statue likely destroyed in a past earthquake. The remaining trinity are often likened to the Three Graces of Greek mythology—minor goddesses representing beauty, charm, and creativity. Situated on that vacant pedestal, RoCoCo imagines the addition not of a fourth season, but of a fourth Grace — Forgiveness, The Misplaced Grace. By filling the empty pedestal and reinterpreting the sculptures, “forgiveness” is elevated to the level of a Grace, dignifying our humanity in a way that the classical Graces…