Exhibition: Boro – from a lack of resources to high fashion

Have you, like us, longed for our museums to reopen? The East Asian Museum was first out when they opened up for custom visits on March 30 with an exhibition on Japanese Boro textiles, the art of patching with scarce resources and carefully repairing broken textiles.

In northern Japan, winters are cold and the population has historically been poor. Here, among farmers and fishermen, a distinctive female craft was developed where nothing was to be wasted. Jackets, sweaters and blankets were repaired, reinforced and reworked for generations. Textiles were made through layers upon layers of home-made hemp fabrics, worn-out garments, cloths and recycled thread.

Boro had a low reputation in Japan for a long time. A century later, everything has changed. Boro objects are copied by luxury fashion brands and exhibited as art in exclusive galleries. The exhibition also features Swedish creators who have created their interpretation of boro through fashion, poetry and sound art. New works by fashion brand Rave Review and poet Burcu Sahin are presented, as well as sound art by musicians Miriam Berhan, Nadine Byrne, Tanya Byrne and Marlena Salonen. The Swedish-Japanese artist Takao Momiyama contributes with contemporary boro. Among the 100 boro objects, a selection of patched and repaired clothes from Swedish museum collections is also shown.

As the first museum in Europe, the East Asian Museum displays a world-unique collection of boro objects borrowed from the Amuse Museum in Tokyo. The collection has previously been shown in New York, Beijing and Sydney and is now on display in Stockholm at the East Asian Museum.

Boro – the art of distress opens March 30, 2021 and is on display until January 9, 2022 at the East Asian Museum in Stockholm.