shopping 05.26.15

Every Person in New York

Tribal arts anthropologist David Stiffler has, for many years, documented indigenous peoples and their cultures around the world. Two decades ago, when he was in Panama, he became intrigued by the mola. It's a blouse worn by Kuna women, made by sewing together layers of cloth, after which a design is created by cutting out parts of the different layers.

Mr. Stiffler recognized that in addition to the garment's inherent attractiveness and utility, the act of creating them also reinforced group identity.

Seeing an everybody-wins scenario, he began selling molas on New York streets and eventually broadened the scope to include artifacts from over 100 ethnic groups around the world.

Ethnix, 636 Bway [Bleecker/ Houston] 212.614.6610, opened to showcase these unusual items; sales provides income to members of traditional cultures and helps sustain those cultures.

Many of the objects are from Africa. You may see a Dogon spirit boat from Mali, textiles and baskets, a horned mask from Congo, an Ethiopian headrest, Tuareg jewelry, an Indonesian statue, Buddhas and Vietnamese pottery. You are likely to be amazed at the beauty of these pieces, many of which tell stories of their use, a culture and its rituals.

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

Midtown (from 2013)

recent entries

CBD, Flickr Pool Picks

Chisholm Larsson, Every Person in New York

Rooted, Flickr Pool Picks

See all articles in SHOPPING

Get a daily dose of MUG
right in your Inbox.