Exhibition, November 22nd-February 28th, 2015
Selections from the Isabella de la Houssaye and David Crane Collection
The population of Africa is one of the most diverse in the world with more than 3000 distinct ethnic groups and over 2100 spoken languages. Prior to colonization, each of these ethnic groups had distinct customs and artistic traditions that were reflected in both their costume and currency. Although these ethnic groups are now organized into “countries” and many have adopted western dress and traditions, to truly understand the political and cultural history of Africa you have to have some understanding of the different ethnic groups that populate these countries. This exhibition attempts to illustrate visually through items of traditional costume and currency the differences and similarities among many of these African ethnic groups. It examines how artistic and cultural traditions informed the costume and currency of the different tribes while also exploring what the costume and currency communicated about the people who wore/used it.