Traditional African Textiles Inspire Modern Art

By Weinstein, Norman | The Christian Science Monitor, November 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

Traditional African Textiles Inspire Modern Art


Weinstein, Norman, The Christian Science Monitor


Two extraordinary parallel exhibits at the Grey Gallery at New York University and the Metropolitan Museum illuminate what many Africans themselves view as their supreme art: textile design. The Western world's on-again, off-again love affair with traditional African arts during the past century has been quicker to value African masks and sculpture than artful textiles, perhaps because textiles are associated with "mere" clothing. These exhibits build a case for the way the most refined and imaginative textiles Africans have worn for centuries create a sense for the wearer and onlookers of perceiving fine art in dancing motion.

Both exhibits also concentrate on how traditional West African textile designs have inspired modern African artists who use materials other than woven silk or cotton to create new art that references past weaving traditions while reflecting the present. This startling juxtaposition between the past and present in thinking about textile patterns is sweepingly showcased in the Grey Art Gallery's "The Poetics of Cloth: African Textiles/Recent Art."

A hand-woven cotton wrapper from the Ewe people of Ghana is a sumptuous presentation of the polyrhythmic weaving style called "kente." If a textile could fancifully sing about itself, this cloth would sing: "I've got rhythm, who could ask for anything more?" "Kente for the Space Age" by Rikki Wemega-Kwawu creates a parallel field of color-clashing, asymmetrically skewed patterns - but does so using prepaid African phone cards linked by plastic twine. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Traditional African Textiles Inspire Modern Art
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.