The opening of the “Second Skins: Painted Barkcloth From New Guinea and Central Africa” exhibition unveils the barkcloth-making legacy of the people of the Ituri rainforest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and those of the people in eastern mountains of Papua in New Guinea. Barkclothes are made by stripping fibrous inner bark from forest trees and beating the rough-hewn material until it becomes soft like felt. The Ömie — a small tribe in an isolated part of New Guinea — are currently selling barkcloth on the international market, furthering their fortunes with native capital. The designs reflect the natural habitat of the Ömie: vines, mountains; animal carpets wall-to-wall. Patterns on the barkcloth recall body adornment from eons past, moving gracefully from the temporal to the eternal. Fowler Museum, North Campus, UCLA, Westwood; exhibit runs Wed.-Sun., thru Aug. 26; free. (310) 825-4361,

Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: April 1. Continues through Aug. 26, 2012

LA Weekly