Sunday, 24 March 2013

“Majestic African Textiles”–exhibition at Indianapolis Museum of Art

“Majestic African Textiles features more than 60 pieces showcasing the woven arts from the diverse cultures of Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, among other regions .
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 6, 2013— The Indianapolis Museum of Art today announced it will present Majestic African Textiles, an exhibition featuring a spectacular array of prestige garments,
performance and ritual cloths and superbly beaded and embellished objects. The works are drawn from the IMA’s extensive collection of textiles—one of the most distinguished in the country. The exhibition will be on view from May 3, 2013, to March, 2, 2014.
“The IMA has been collecting African textiles since 1918. Majestic African Textiles will highlight a significant and diverse group of richly patterned and elaborately decorated north and subSaharan African textiles,” said Niloo Paydar, curator of textile and fashion arts. “These textiles are considered significant symbols of status, power and wealth.” “The IMA’s long history of collecting African works of art has resulted in one of the finest and most
comprehensive collections in the United States,” said Dr. Charles L. Venable, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA. “We are excited to present these stunning textiles that will
illuminate the many cultures of Africa through the weavers’ art.”
Featuring more than 60 pieces, Majestic African Textiles will celebrate the prestige and significance of these prized cloths in their respective cultures. This exhibition offers a superb
presentation of the woven arts of the diverse African textile producing cultures of Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Ivory
Coast, Ethiopia and South Africa. Representing many African ethnic groups and organized geographically, the exhibition will
include the following highlights:
• An elaborately tailored and embroidered Nigerian man’s drawstring trousers with wide waist
bands that serve as a prestige garment among the Hausa, Nupe and other northern Nigerian
• An exquisitely beaded royal Nigerian ceremonial tunic made of panels of imported velvet and wool. The beaded patterns are executed in a variety of designs including medals, crowns, faux epaulettes, flowers and faces of Yoruba royal ancestors.
• Several examples of the colorful strip-woven cloths of the Asante and Ewe peoples of Ghana, popularly known as kente.
• A recently acquired, rare warrior’s tunic from Ghana laden with a number of amulets that contained protective powers. Hunters, warriors and soldiers who often had dangerous professions wore garments that were either painted with protective verses or adorned with objects that were believed to have magical powers.
Organized by the IMA, Majestic African Textiles will be on view in the museum’s Gerald and Dorit Paul Galleries. “

Symmetry/Asymmetry: African Textiles, Dress, and Adornment–exhibition at High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Shoowa Artists (Kasai Province)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Man's Prestige Cloth, first half of 20th century
Raffia palm fiber
26 x 14 inches (66 x 35 cm)
Collection of Michael Mack

African Textiles, Dress, and Adornment

March 23-August 25, 2013

“Symmetry/Asymmetry draws attention to African textiles as abstract works of art to highlight their aesthetic dimension. At the same time the exhibition suggests a synaesthetic experience as these once kinetic works engaged multiple senses.
Over 40 works of African textiles, dress, and adornment – to include objects from throughout the continent and from South Africa to the Sahara – are presented. A broad spectrum of art spanning more than 7,000 years of artistic innovation, from a Neolithic stone bracelet to twentieth and twenty-first century commemorative cloths emblazoned with the faces of Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, and President Obama, are included. A magnificent selection of indigo cloths from West Africa and Kuba textiles from Central Africa are also presented. The exhibition provides a surprisingly diverse range of symmetric and asymmetric designs.
Organization & Support
The exhibition is generously funded by the Fred and Rita Richman Special Initiative Endowment Fund for African Art.”

Friday, 22 March 2013

Fante Asafo Flag details












To view the complete flags please visit the newly updated gallery on our website here.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Symmetry/Asymmetry: African Textiles, Dress, and Adornment–new exhibition at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Opens March 23.

More details when I get them.

“Majestic African Textiles” at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

“From 3 May 2013 to 2 March 2014, the Indianapolis Museum of Art will be offering an exhibition devoted to African textile art, titled “Majestic African Textiles.”

Issued from the rich textile collections housed by the IMA – which has been collecting African textiles since 1918 – the exhibition gathers over 60 items and prestigious cloth pieces, as well as ritual clothes used on the occasion of ceremonies, embellished with pearls and various ornaments.

This comprehensive overview of the art of weaving is comprised of pieces from Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and South Africa.”

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sarakole Woman


Sarakole, Guinea/Senegal circa 1900. Beautiful indigo head wrap.

Asaba, south eastern Nigeria, circa 1900


Jeunes Filles Acouses, 1919


Along the coast of West Africa in the C19th and early C20th Yoruba people were often called “Aku” after their typical greeting “E ku …”

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Vintage West African Indigo Cloths

Last week I posted a new section on our website with some of my favourite pieces from our large stock of old indigo dyed cloths. Here are a few highlights but please do visit the page and see the whole selection.


AS455: Yoruba strip weave, Nigeria (above)


NW493: Yoruba women's weave, Nigeria


AS452: Yoruba strip weave, Nigeria, indigo & silk


AS454: Gwari, Nigeria

Click on the photos to enlarge. Visit our new Indigo Select gallery here.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

An indigo dyed hunter’s tunic from Benin.


AGB102 - Much prized by lovers of indigo, these smock-like robes were worn by hunters and other senior men in the forested central and northern regions of the Benin Republic. Hand-tailored from indigo hand spun cotton thread strip weaves with a plain indigo in a lighter shade lining the shoulders and hem.


Eight to ten years ago there were quite a few of these around in Accra but more recently they have become rather scarce and prices for rare examples as good as this have risen accordingly. Condition: small patched repair to back of "skirt" and minor marks but good overall. Age: circa mid C20th. Measures: 43 inches x 57, 110cm x 145. More details here


Photo above is a detail from the wonderful book Chasseurs Nago: Royaume de Bante by photographer Jean-Dominique Burton published by Fondation Zinsou.

Click on the photos to enlarge. More robes here and more indigo here.

Social Fabric: African Textiles today - British Museum