Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Into Africa

[Top left: Woman's wrapper: Adire Eleko African, Nigeria, mid 20th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, a gift of Olaperi Onipede in memory of her parents, Dr. F. Oladipo Onipede and Mrs. Frances A. Onipede, photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Clockwise from top right: Bluma Project necklace via Shopbop; Anthropologie catalog, March 2011; Detail, Bluma Project paper bead necklace via Anthro.] 

Back in January, I said 2011 was shaping up to be a good year for African textiles. Now things are really shifting into high gear.  Global Patterns: Dress and Textiles in Africa opens today at MFA, Boston and will continue through January 8, 2012.

 [Image posted with permission from MFA, Boston © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]

[Detail view, Woman's wrapper: Adire Eleko African, Nigeria, mid 20th century, © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]

With roughly 80 pieces gathered from the MFA's holdings as well as private collections in the Boston area -- textiles such as the indigo cotton paste resist dyed example above -- this show explores the work of African tailors, bead embroiderers, weavers and dyers. A key theme running through the exhibition is artistic exchange within the Continent as well as design innovations sparked by trade with India, Indonesia, and Europe. I think the show offers a great opportunity for the design community to learn more about the full spectrum of African style, including the lively Yoruba indigo-dyed cloths (Adire). It's all about inspiration, too. Go simply to be inspired by the dense patterns.

The glass, wood and lacquered paper bead necklaces shown at top are made in Africa through Bluma Project. Currently, some of Bluma Project's pieces can be seen in the Museum of Arts and Design's exhibition,  The Global Africa Project, on view through May 15, 2011, but the goods are also available to retail shoppers at Shopbop, ABC and Anthro.

Later in the year, Weaving Abstraction: Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central Africa will open at The Textile Museum. Also, Robert A. M. Stern Architects' new building for the Museum for African Art is scheduled to open fall 2011. Click here for a sneak peek.

See wonderful examples of Yoruba and Kente cloth for sale at Adire African Textiles. Options under $300 can be found (here.)

Related past post: Michael Smith and African Patterns.


Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing this...I may have to go as I live in NH and can get to the MFA...I LOVE textiles and this would be a great learning opportunity...:)

Style Court said...

Oh Sarah, that's great. Let me know what you think. I'm curious about the beadwork!

Unknown said...

Courtney - these are simply beautiful.Especially the indigo textiles - marvellous!