As much of Africa won independence in the mid-twentieth century, a wave of liberated creative expression swept across the continent—and its evolution hasn’t stopped since. Showcasing a dazzling array of garments alongside music, visual art, and much more, Africa Fashion celebrates the ingenuity and global impact of African fashions from the 1950s to today. Works by iconic designers and artists illuminate fashion’s pivotal role in Africa’s cultural renaissance, which laid the foundation for an ongoing fashion revolution.
Making its North American debut in Brooklyn, Africa Fashion is the largest-ever presentation of the subject: more than 180 works, including standout pieces from the Museum’s collections. Organized thematically, this multisensory experience features immersive displays of haute couture and ready-to-wear apparel, as well as photographs, literature, sketches, music, film and catwalk footage, textiles, and jewelry. More than forty designers and artists from twenty African countries are represented, from the vanguards who first gained worldwide attention, such as Kofi Ansah (Ghana) and Shade Thomas-Fahm (Nigeria), to the newest generation of cutting-edge creatives, such as Thebe Magugu (South Africa) and Gouled Ahmed (Djibouti). Many of their works are on view for the first time in the United States.
Home to one of the country’s most dynamic African diasporic communities, Brooklyn is the perfect setting to explore Africa’s many histories and cultures. Visitors can participate by sharing contemporary photos and short videos via social media, which may be featured on the Brooklyn Museum’s channels.
The exhibition is accompanied by a dedicated catalogue, published by V&A Publishing.