African by Design | Mingei International Museum
Detail of textile with a purple base fabric decorated with geometric with shapes and designs in yellow, blue, red, black, and green.
Image: Detail of textile with a purple base fabric decorated with geometric with shapes and designs in yellow, blue, red, black, and green.
On View

May 20 - Sep 17, 2023

Curated By

Emily Hanna

This exhibition presents over 100 works of African craft, including furniture, pottery, basketry, textiles, jewelry, clothing, weapons, currency, and more. The objects originate from many areas of Africa, and are part of layered cultural stories and histories.

Throughout the African continent, handmade crafts have been central to the unfolding of daily life. These are the objects held and used every day – a favorite water jar, for example, or a well-constructed gathering basket, a comfortable headrest, a woven robe, or a forged iron blade. On top of their importance as well-made, functional objects, African crafts are often visually stunning. Objects of furniture feature bold, unexpected forms.  Brilliant textiles dazzle with color and pattern. Clay vessels draw attention because of their striking shapes and silhouettes, and because of the applied designs meant to be felt with the hands, as well as seen. 

This exhibition presents over 100 works of African craft, including furniture, pottery, basketry, textiles, jewelry, clothing, weapons, currency, and more. The objects originate from many areas of Africa, and are part of layered cultural stories and histories. Each work invites us not just to consider the object, but also the maker - a person often unknown to us - whose inspiration and sense of design made an everyday object extraordinary. 

African by Design is drawn from Mingei International Museum’s permanent collection and local private collections.  

Press Materials

Featured Works
Beaded Collars, Kenya or Tanzania, Glass beads, wire, leather, 20th Century, 2022016006007008. Gift of David Katz, Mingei International Museum.
Throwing Knife-Shaped Currency (oshele), Democratic Republic of Congo, Nkutshu Culture, Iron, 20th century. Anonymous Loan.
Vessel with Lid, Burkina Faso, Lobi Culture, Clay, 20th century, Anonymous Loan.

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