Art Encounters, Episode 2: “African Apparel: Threaded Transformations across the 20th Century”

By on February 11th, 2020 in Blog, Podcast

In the second episode of our podcast, “Art Encounters,” Guest Curators Dr. Mackenzie Moon Ryan, associate professor of Art History at Rollins College, and two of her students Morgan Snoap ’20 and Cristina Toppin ’21, share insights on the new exhibit, African Apparel: Threaded Transformations across the 20th Century, which is on display until May 17, 2020. 

The exhibition, which was over two years in the making, features 71 pieces of African textiles, jewelry, headwear, accessories, and clothing that share a story of resilience, artistry, and creativity. Curated from an extensive collection of  Norma Canelas Roth and William Roth, the exhibit is the first of its kind in Central Florida to focus exclusively on African textiles and items of adornment. The selections include pieces that were hand-woven and dyed (such as a bògòlanfini mud cloth from Mali, adire indigo cloth from Nigeria, and kente cloth from Ghana) alongside factory-woven and machine-printed cloth (such as wax-print from West and Central Africa, kanga from East Africa, and shweshwe from Southern Africa). Additionally, the items of adornment include amber and silver jewelry from North Africa, South African clothing embellished with beadwork, and a variety of headdresses from across the continent.

The exhibit focuses on African subthemes, including global interactions, gendered realities, and generational conflict and continuities. Historically marginalized as women’s decorative works, the exhibit argues that by looking at how Africans of all genders dress reveals a dynamic and inclusive visual history of the continent. 

We encourage you to listen, to learn more, and to experience it for yourself at the museum this season.  

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