Author(s): Alisa LaGamma
This informative and beautiful volume sheds light on the enduring significance of textiles as a major form of aesthetic expression across Africa, relating long-standing cultural practices to recent creative developments. Some of the finest and oldest preserved examples of West African textile traditions are presented, and both their artistic and technical qualities are examined. Wrapped around the body, fashioned into garments, or displayed as hangings, these magnificent textiles include bold strip weavings and intricately patterned indigo resist-dyed cloths. The influence of African textiles on contemporary artists is also explored, featuring artworks by eight individuals who work in media as far-ranging as sculpture, painting, photography, video, and installation art. A monumental metal tapestry by the Ghanaian El Anatsui that pays tribute to traditional kente prestige cloth while constituting an inventive new genre is discussed in detail.