Africa Fashion at the Brooklyn Museum

Published 23 June 2023 in The Legacy

Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum presents the largest display of African fashion to be exhibited, exploring the impact of African Fashion from the 1950s to our current period. Having had its inaugural debut at the V&A, London, this exhibition, running from 23 Jun 2023 to 22 Oct 2023, is Africa Fashion’s North American Debut.

Structured thematically, the exhibition presents a captivating and diverse array of pieces, showcasing garments, textiles, photographs, books, music, and catwalk footage contributed by over 40 visionary designers and artists hailing from 20 of Africa's nations. The journey begins in the 'Vanguard' section which showcases 20th-century trailblazers Shade Thomas-Fahm (Nigeria), Naima Bennis (Morocco), Kofi Ansah (Ghana), and others, presenting how these individuals paved the way for a fashion revolution.

A profound journey unfolds within 'The Cultural Renaissance' section, where you are taken through the period from the 1950s through the 1990s, characterised by intense social, political and cultural transformations during Africa's fight for independence. This transformation is vividly reflected in the rich tapestry of Pan-African fashion and art and immerses you in the ample energy of the time.

The 'Politics and Poetics of Cloth' section sheds light on the emergence of Indigenous cloth as a powerful political statement. Seamlessly blending textiles from the museum's Arts of Africa collection with the V&A's iconic wax prints, commemorative fabrics, àdìrẹ, kente cloth, and bògòlanfini, this display captures the flawless blending of diversity and strength in voice had.

'Capturing Change' chronicles the tumultuous years of independence through the artistic lens, featuring works by renowned artists, Malick Sidibé (Mali) and Seydou Keïta (Mali). Additionally, there is a presentation of captivating fashion photography by James Barnor (Ghana).

This book, 'Drawings' by Uche Okeke was featured in the exhibition.

'Cutting Edge' is an intriguing section, designed around thought-provoking concepts. Here, we celebrate the next generation of fashion designers and creative minds.

'Through the Photographer’s Lens' offers a compelling exploration of contemporary photography's influence, showcasing mesmerising images of intricate African hairstyles along with works by influential photographers.

The exhibition culminates with 'Global Africa,' an exhilarating journey into how the digital realm has catalysed Africa's burgeoning impact on the global fashion stage.

Read about the exhibition on the Brooklyn Museum website - link below. 

Brooklyn Museum - Africa Fashion

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