The Fowler Museum is alive with the colors and culture of African-print textiles. African-prints are distinct yet diverse with a rich global history. This exhibition showcases the far reach these fabrics have had and continue to have. The designs we commonly see today in Africa have traveled through time and across countries before landing as an identifier of that region. Fowler points to the patterns beginning in India in the 4th century CE, then by the 11th century Indonesia picked up on it, and by the 19th century Dutch and British manufacturers began making them and very successfully marketing them to African countries (primarily West Africa). Since then several African countries-such as Ghana and Cameroon-have identified with these fabrics and the outfits they form represent an important communal collaboration between the consumer and seamstress. Though the patterns are often repeated, they represent a sense of uniqueness and sense of identity to those who wear them.
Aside from the background information and exemplifying displays, this exhibition really aims to incorporate modern shifts in the intertwining cultures. This helps showcase how the iconic designs have now reached beyond clothes the everyday person would wear and have spread to the high fashion and street wear design world. These displays point to the evolution of patterns as they continue to travel through media, advertisement, and art. Iconic to Africa, there is no denying the life these clothes have had and bring to those who view them.
This exhibition is open until July 30, 2017.
The Fowler Museum is a free admission museum located on the UCLA campus at:
308 Charles E Young Dr E, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Their hours are: Wednesday 12-8 and Thursday through Sunday 12-5.