6.Black Velvet Paintings

The medium is the message with these icons of painterly kitsch, substituting lush black pile for the usual backings of paper or canvas. First appearing in the US after WWII, black velvet paintings presented subjects like ‘Velvet Elvis,’ John Wayne, native Americans, wolves and Jesus Christ. Depictions of island paradises and forbidden love followed in the 1960s and 1970s, making the paintings central to the Tiki exotica boom. A large quantity of work was churned out by factories in Mexico, which specialised in hand-painting and mass-production. The works on display at MORA formerly hung in the staircase at the Toba Secret Treasure Museum. Housed in gaudy gold frames, they surely lifted the spirits of all who looked upon them.