A fascinating new exhibition exploring the rich heritage of West African textiles opens at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 31 March 2012. Style Africa presents visitors with the changing traditions of woven, embroidered, printed and dyed clothing and textiles from West Africa, focussing on some of the most beautiful textiles produced from the early 20th century to 2011.
Style Africa is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots programme. It is created in partnership with Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) at Birmingham City University, the Centre of West African Studies at the University of Birmingham and the Drum Arts Centre. Through these organisations, young people were invited to collaborate with the expert curators from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to create new ways to present the significant West African textile collection from the museum, the University of Birmingham and Craftspace.
Curator of World Cultures at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Adam Jaffer comments, “Style Africa is a unique exhibition, presenting some of the region’s most beautiful and diverse traditional and contemporary West African textiles. The project has provided us with an opportunity to engage young people and Birmingham’s diverse communities, and showcase the incredible textile heritage of English-speaking West Africa, particularly Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.”
The exhibition explores the traditional and contemporary textiles and clothing which form an essential part of West African culture. Using kente cloth, adinkra cloth, adire cloth (tie and dye), aso oke, as well as wax print cloth collected in Ghana in 2011, Style Africa focuses on different textile techniques and the ways in which clothing can communicate identity and individual style. The exhibition also includes contemporary outfits designed in the UK and made using West African prints.
Style Africa is part of the London 2012 Inspire programme which recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Style Africa is free to visit and open daily from 31 March 2012 to 2 September 2012. For more information, visit http://www.bmag.org.uk/events?id=1797