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Celebrating African Textile Arts at the Currier Museum of Art


Sep 28, 2013 to Jan 12, 2014

This event occurs weekly, on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.


For centuries, textiles have played a central role in the history and cultural life of people from regions throughout Africa. Africa Interweave: Textile Diasporas will explore the breadth of this dynamic art form through both traditional works and contemporary innovations.

Exhibition Overview

Cloth has long been used across the African continent to signify cultural identity, political power, religious belief and economic status. The works in Africa Interweave will highlight local customs and explore how regional and global cultural exchange and commercial interests from abroad have affected production, aesthetic choices and uses of textiles among people in different parts of Africa.

Africa Interweave includes more than 40 textiles made in the last 100 years, including stunning full-length ceremonial costumes, designer garments and symbolic flags. Drawn primarily from the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art collection at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and organized by Dr. Susan Cooksey, the Harn’s Curator of African Art, these works are among the most striking examples of this art form. Tailored garments, including full-sized masquerade costumes, are shown alongside garments typically worn wrapped around the body. These large-scale textiles are displayed stretched from floor to ceiling to reveal their expert construction and detailed symbolic embellishments. One woman’s skirt made from natural raffia palm fibers by the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, measures almost 20 feet long.

Many innovative textile artists represented in the show provide a contemporary update to longstanding techniques such as resist-dyeing, embroidery and hand-weaving. A festive ceremonial cloth from the workshop of master Ghanaian weaver Samuel Cophie combines strip-woven kente with large appliqued adinkra symbols, which are traditionally stamped onto a cloth typically reserved for funerals. A resist-dyed scarf in the show by Malian-French textile artist Aboubakar Fofana reveals this artist’s role in revitalizing the use of natural indigo and environmentally conscious dyeing practices in place of synthetic dyes introduced to Africa in the 1800s.

Textiles have also influenced contemporary artists working in other media. Achamyeleh Debela’s digital print The Priest (1990-91), which features a dizzying swirl of color around a man’s head, was inspired by the artist’s childhood memory of ceremonial processionals in which Ethiopian Christian Orthodox priests donned vibrant costumes.


$12 Adults; $10 Seniors; $9 Students; $5 Youth 13-17; Members Free


View map Currier Museum of Art
150 Ash Street
Manchester, NH

Additional Information


Currier Museum of Art


603-669-6144 x 102

Contact name

Steve Konick

Contact email

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