The Global History of African Textiles at the Fowler Museum

The exhibition African Print Fashion Now!, opening this Saturday, chronicles the history of African textiles, beginning with their 19th-century origins in West and Central Africa.

Hassan Hajjaj, “Afrikan Boy” (2012), Metallic Lambda print on 3mm Dibond in wood frame with Joly sardine tins ( image courtesy Taymour Grahne Collection, via

The bold, brightly colored patterns of African textiles have long represented the vitality and diversity of fashion across the continent, but their history tells a global story, from Indonesian inspirations, to Dutch manufacturers, to current popularity among fashion designers around the world. The exhibition African Print Fashion Now! chronicles this history, beginning with the fabric’s 19th-century origins in West and Central Africa.

A selection of black-and-white photographs from the 1960s and ’70s capture the textiles’ association with an ascendent middle-class in newly independent nations, while contemporary color photographs reflect regional variations. Artists Omar Victor Diop, Hassan HajjajNjideka Akunyili Crosby, and others feature the prints in work that addresses identity and globalism. And then there is the fabric itself, of which more than 60 examples will be featured. Saturday’s opening will be bookended on Friday and Sunday from 12-5pm by a pop-up marketplace from the online African clothing retailer Zuvaa.

When: Opens Saturday, March 25, 7–9pm
Where: Fowler Museum at UCLA (308 Charles E Young Dr N., Westwood, Los Angeles)

More info here.

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