Current Exhibitions

Designed to Mobilize: Propaganda Kimono 1920 - 1945

January 26 – May 4, 2019

Curated almost exclusively from the Center’s permanent collection, this exhibition presents kimono and associated textiles from one of the most distinctive periods of textile production in Japanese history.

The beginning of the 20th century was a time of momentous change in Japanese society. Successes in early military conflicts fueled economic development and a focus on expansionist ideals. By the end of World War I (1914-1918), the country’s focus on establishing its placement as a modern world leader led to a dedicated emphasis on the development of technology and design.

This exhibition will feature over 75 historic textiles and focus on the iconography, motifs, and metaphors displayed in objects manufactured as propaganda during the World War II era - also known as the Asia-Pacific War (1931 – 1945). Produced within a nation primed to advance its cultural identity on the world stage, textiles provide an important lens for understanding the role of consumerism, coercion and fashion during a remarkable and controversial period of transition.

Designed to Mobilize is made possible through the generous contribution of Erik Jacobsen to the permanent collection of the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology. This exhibition is presented with select research conducted by Dr. Rhiannon Paget, Curator of Asian Art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University. Additional scholarship provided by Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkins.

Images: Detail of Boy’s Kimono; Child’s Kimono, Japan, c. 1931-45. Collection of the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Florida Institute of Technology, 2014.13.08 and 2014.13.27.