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‘Majestic African Textiles’ in Indiana until March 2014

This stunning special exhibition, ‘Majestic African Textiles’ at the Indianapolis Museum of Art features more than 60 pieces of woven art from the diverse cultures of North and Sub-Saharan Africa – ‘a spectacular array of prestige garments, performance and ritual cloths and superbly beaded and embellished objects’. All are drawn from the IMA’s diverse collection of African textiles, one of the most comprehensive in the USA, which was begun in 1918. The exhibition opened on 3 May 3, 2013, and is on view in the Gerald and Dorit Paul Galleries until 2 March 2014.

Gallery installation of 'Majestic African Textiles' at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various West African narrow stripe woven cloths to the right, a Hausa agbaba robe on the wall left and a N'dop Cameroonian costume front left  and in the foreground a Yoruba ceremonial tunic from the early 20th century

Gallery installation of ‘Majestic African Textiles’ at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various West African narrow strip woven cloths to the right, a Hausa agbaba robe on the wall left and a N’dop Cameroonian costume front left and in the foreground a Yoruba ceremonial tunic from the early 20th century

Majestic African Textiles’ is the work of Niloo Paydar, IMA curator of textile and fashion arts, who says ‘These textiles are considered significant symbols of status, power and wealth.’ The exhibition celebrates the role and status of these prized cloths in African textile producing cultures as diverse as those of Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and South Africa. Highlights of the geographically arranged exhibition include elaborately tailored and embroidered Nigerian man’s drawstring trousers with wide waistbands that serve as a prestige garment among the Hausa, Nupe and other northern Nigerian tribes, a Yoruba royal ceremonial tunic made of beaded panels of imported velvet and wool, colourful strip-woven ‘kente’ cloths of the Asante and Ewe peoples of Ghana, and a recently acquired rare warrior’s tunic from Ghana adorned with apotropaeic amulets.  Another recent acquisition of note is a Mende chief’s cotton and wool robe from Sierra Leone or Liberia.

Gallery installation of 'Majestic African Textiles' at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various West African narrow stripe woven cloths to the right, a Hausa agbaba robe on the wall left and a N'dop Cameroonian costume front left

Gallery installation of ‘Majestic African Textiles’ at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various West African narrow strip woven cloths to the right, a Hausa agbaba robe on the wall left and a N’dop Cameroonian costume front left

Gallery installation of 'Majestic African Textiles' at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various Ewe and Kente narrow strip woven cloths, alongside Cameroonian and Nigerian cloths

Gallery installation of ‘Majestic African Textiles’ at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various Ewe and Asante Kente narrow strip woven cloths, alongside Cameroonian and Nigerian cloths

Gallery installation of 'Majestic African Textiles' at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various Ewe and Kente narrow strip woven cloths, alongside Cameroonian and Nigerian cloths

Gallery installation of ‘Majestic African Textiles’ at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various Ewe and Asante Kente narrow strip woven cloths, alongside Cameroonian and Nigerian cloths

Gallery installation of 'Majestic African Textiles' at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various narrow strip woven cloths and cultic costume

Gallery installation of ‘Majestic African Textiles’ at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing various narrow strip woven cloths and cultic costume

Gallery installation of 'Majestic African Textiles' at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing Central African barkcloth and raffia weaving alongside cultic costume

Gallery installation of ‘Majestic African Textiles’ at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing Central African barkcloth and raffia weaving alongside cultic costume

Gallery installation of 'Majestic African Textiles' at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing Central African raffia weaving, Dida plant fibre skirts and Yoruba beadwork

Gallery installation of ‘Majestic African Textiles’ at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing Central African raffia weaving, Dida plant fibre skirts and Yoruba beadwork

Gallery installation of 'Majestic African Textiles' at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing Zulu beadwork  far left and Moroccan and Tunisian tie-dyed shawls

Gallery installation of ‘Majestic African Textiles’ at Indianapolis Museum of Art showing Zulu beadwork far left and Moroccan and Tunisian tie-dyed shawls

MAT-12 2013 IMA

 

 

 

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