A bit of Africa in Midtown

Yesterday we got a break in our little April winter weather, and I went to the African-Print Fashion Now exhibit at Brooks, the lovely gallery just a few blocks from my house.  If you’re in Memphis, do yourself a favor and go see this remarkable exhibit.  I’m not a fashionista by any means, but the way people dress and express themselves is a source of inspiration for me as well as a wonderful way to understand other cultures.   I’m sharing my pictures here.  I’m not a great photographer, but I think the energy and beauty of this exhibit will show through in my photos.  It’s only a fraction of what is on display and I intend to go back a few times before the show closes in August.

This lovely dress was the first thing I saw.  I was so absorbed in the patterns, I didn’t even notice the petticoat till I went around to back.




What struck me over and over was how the designers paid a lot of attention to the backs of garments — leaving a statement in their wake


Color, tributes, humor and patterns dominated these small run fabric prints:


This was part of a display of fabrics that had been popular for over a hundred years
The art accompanying the exhibit was as intriguing as the fashion.  I forgot to write down the artist’s name for this vibrant painting, but will credit it as soon as I go back

This following piece by Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga from the Democratic Republic of the Congo was so moving, I wanted to pull up a chair and study it for hours:

Forget the Past and Lose Both Eyes

I couldn’t find a website specifically for his work, but if you google his name, you’ll find lots of images of his work.  It just speaks so profoundly to the human condition in the technological world.

Another piece that grabbed me was by Njideka Akunyili Crosby.   There was so much to think about with this art, too.  The nature of relationships, of the lives around women.  Remarkable work.

The Thing Around Her Neck

The whole show is vibrant and thought provoking — beauty, dignity, identity — how we are defined by what we wear.  Clothing is ephemeral but also an important part of who we are, how we want the world to see us.


The show comes with an accompanying book, but I urge you to see it at the Brooks if you can.  http://www.brooksmuseum.org/african-print-fashion-now

Thanks for reading.  I hope you get to enjoy some of the beauty life has to offer today.


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