Please join the staff of Lilly Library on Tuesday, November 27, for a gallery talk about a new library exhibit on African weaving.
“Interwoven Histories: Luxury Cloths of Atlantic Africa” draws from the private collection of Professor J. Lorand Matory and Ms. Olubunmi Fatoye-Matory, celebrating the genius of West African weavers, dyers, printers, appliqué artists, and embroiderers who have employed a cosmopolitan array of techniques and materials to create wearable art. They draw their designs from ancient African sources and from as far afield as Indonesia to supply markets, museums, interior designers and couturiers in Africa, Europe and the Americas.
These cloths express not only dignity, heritage, and style but also the old reality of internationalism and changing fashion in Africa, a continent often falsely associated with cultural isolation and stasis.
Moreover, like African drumming, African cloth speaks. Many weaves and printed designs convey literal messages that swathe the body in counsel, consolation, prayer, and warning on the occasion of births, weddings, coronations, elections, diplomatic negotiations, and deaths.
These richest of textile arts from Ghana and Nigeria illustrate tradition and change from the period of independence until the present.
The Center for African and African American Research at Duke University and the Duke University Libraries invite you behind the veil of vivid texture and color and into the world of West African taste, class, and history.