Grey background with four image panels. Image on the left shows a figure surrounded by plants. The figure is cut from cream-colored bark paper mounted on rust-colored bark paper, the image to the right shows two rectangular metal beaters with lots of vertical grooves in the metal. The third image shows five columns of rust-colored triangles on a cream background. and the last image is a close-up of bark cloth paper that has been burned, and stitched. Above the images the words Bark Rhythms: Contemporary Innovations & Ancestral Traditions and below the images the words Atlanta - May6-August 23, Denver, October4-26 appears.


May 6 - August 23, 2024

RECEPTION: July 11, 2024, 4:00-6:00pm


Bark Rhythms: Contemporary Innovations & Ancestral Traditions features historical examples of hand-beaten bark papers, barkcloths, and traditional beaters, paired with the work of contemporary artists from global communities who use bark fiber materials and techniques in innovative and unexpected ways.

In the world of handmade paper, the definition of paper has long venerated European and Asian traditions, which employ moulds to form sheets with macerated pulp. Bark paper and barkcloth are created by hand-beating the cooked or fermented inner bark of certain trees with a shaped stone, wood, or metal beating implement. Bark Rhythms seeks to elevate and honor Indigenous beaten bark fiber traditions that have been undervalued or excluded from exhibitions and scholarship within the field of papermaking and beyond. Highlighting the manifestation of ancient traditions into distinctive, contemporary art practices, this exhibition connects the dots between bark paper and barkcloth, and shines a light on makers who maintain a deep respect for their materials, techniques, tools, and cultural origins. Although not comprehensive worldwide, Bark Rhythms focuses on bark paper and barkcloth traditions from Mexico, Hawaii, the Polynesian Islands, Indonesia, and Uganda, and marks the first time many of these artists have exhibited work in the United States.


Bark Rhythms is on view at the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking in Atlanta, Georgia, May 6 - August 23, 2024, traveling to Denver, Colorado, in October 2024 for the North American Hand Papermakers' annual conference. Sponsored by North American Hand Papermakers and the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, Bark Rhythms is curated by papermakers Jill Powers and Lisa Miles as part of NAHP's second Guest Curated Exhibition Triennial.


Featured Artists

Adnan Rusdi  |  Bobby Britnell  |  Cekouat Elim Leon Peralta  |  Cora-Allan  |  Dalani Tanahy  |  Dime Maria  | Enrique Chagoya  |  Faris Wibisono  |  Fred Mutebi  |  Gaal Cohen  |  Jennie Frederick  |  Lehuauakea  |  Maribel Portela  |  Mufid Sururi  |  Shelia Nakitende  |  Tedi Permadi


Virtual Talk: Ugandan Barkcloth Paper & Indonesian Bark Paper

Wednesday, May 29, 2024
8:00-9:00pm EDT

Join artists Sheila Nakitende and Tedi Permadi from the Bark Rhythms: Contemporary Innovations & Ancestral Traditions exhibition as they discuss their artwork and process.  Sheila Nakitende will speak about her Ugandan barkcloth and Tedi Permadi will speak about his Indonesian Daluang bark paper. This talk is free and open to the public.

Recording coming soon

Virtual Talk: Bast Fibers & Mexican Amate

Tuesday, June 18, 2024
8:00-9:00pm EDT

Join speakers James Ojascastro & Cekouat Elim Leon Peralta while they speak about the Bark Rhythms: Contemporary Innovations & Ancestral Traditions exhibition. Ojascastro will discuss Bast fibers for bark paper & cloth, and Leon Peralta will discuss his artwork and process for his Papel Amate from Mexico.


Virtual Talk: Hiapo from Niue & Hawaiian Barkcloth

Wednesday, August 7, 2024
8:00-9:00pm EDT

Join three artists, Lehuauakea, Dalani Tanahy, and Cora-Allan from the Bark Rhythms: Contemporary Innovations & Ancestral Traditions exhibition as they discuss their artwork and process. Lehuauakea and Dalani Tanahy will discuss Hawaiian Kapa barkcloth and Cora-Allan will discuss Hiapo barkcloth from Niue.