Kristie Winther

Kristie Winther ’11 spent her summer selecting, cataloguing, and writing about the artwork for an upcoming Baltimore Museum of Art showcase, a new rotation of North African jewelry and textiles, on view mid-November through mid-May 2011. Vying with many students for a much-lauded internship position, the painting student was selected to be the student curator in the Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Pacific Islands department of this nationally renowned museum.

When Winther began her internship, she knew the department wanted to choose some artifacts from the North African collection to promote an upcoming trip for the BMA and its members, Moroccan Discovery: From the Imperial Cities to the Sahara. After choosing the 12 jewelry pieces and textiles to appear in the showcase, she soon discovered that most of the objects lacked photographic records as well as geographical and historical information. This led her on an African adventure she had not anticipated. Her research provided the museum with specific origins of the pieces as well as information regarding the original social functions for which they were used.

Winther says her interest in North African culture came through her participation in MICA’s Summer Travel Intensive to Morocco. On the 2007 trip she learned about indigenous textiles and embroidery, and studied the mosaics and tessellations that adorn the ornamental mosque walls. These expressive designs have a direct influence on many of her recent works. After her return to the United States, she took courses in fiber, Arab and Muslim intellectual history, and independent painting, all of which provided opportunities to continue her research in non-Western textiles and ornamental decoration.

“As a painting major, I have constructed paintings that contain copious depictions of patterns contained within figural narratives. I am very inspired by...imagery from ornamental, embroidered, and embellished textiles from Africa, Pre-Columbian Peru, and Central Asia,” Winther said. “As an artist and a human, I have always been conscious of the immensely transformative power of museums. I plan to continue to use the BMA and other museums as resources in the development of my work.”