Plaquemine artist’s work is selected for wearable art show

Tryve Brackin
WEARING ART...Twins Elise and Danielle Garvin take on modeling duties for their aunt, artist Les Ann Kirkland of Plaquemine. For the second year, Kirkland’s work was accepted in the Uncommon Thread Wearable Art Show, a juried competition among artists from the United States and Canada. The show was held last month, but the designs are still on view at the Louisiana State Museum in downtown Baton Rouge.

The work of artist Les Ann Kirkland of Plaquemine was among 40 pieces selected for the second annual Uncommon Thread Wearable Art Show held last month at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge.

Kirkland was competing with artists from the United States and Canada for acceptance into the juried show. Her work also was accepted last year.

“I was thrilled to get in again this year,” Kirkland said.

In both years, she has used her twin nieces, Elise and Danielle Garvin, to model her work.

Last year, their costumes, called “Requiem for the Birds,” were “very naturalistic,” Kirkland said. They featured leaves, twigs, feathers, jute, small brass bells andnetting in various colors of tan and bronze. The girls carried birds nests that were blown down during hurricanes Katrina and Rita and that still contained the broken eggs.

This year’s competition was centered on a theme, “Force,” Kirkland said, that drew a range of interpretations.

“Many were political in nature and concerned with gender roles, especially the oppression of women,” the artist said. “Mine was called ‘Children of War’ and combined military force with the power of adults over children. Danielle was dressed as the American child soldier who plays at war on computers, and Elise, as the Middle Eastern child soldier who actually fights alongside adults in real wars.”

The costumes from the show are on display at the Louisiana Museum through November 15. They also can be viewed on-line at culturecandy.org.

“It was such an imaginative show, and beautiful,” Kirkland said. “And, if some weren’t beautiful, they were thought-provoking, portraying the darker side of ‘Force,’ pointing up concepts that need to be brought to the light of day.”

“Shows featuring art on the body are a new thing, considered avant-garde. The interplay of art, the human form, music, singing and dancers was something to see,” she said. “And, It’s nice to know we’re on the cutting edge of something down here, which doesn’t happen often enough.”

More than 1,400 people attended the show.