June 23–October 22, 2023
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.
Call for Participation
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.
The Brooklyn Museum presentation of Africa Fashion is organized by Ernestine White-Mifetu, Sills Foundation Curator of African Art, and Annissa Malvoisin, Bard Graduate Center / Brooklyn Museum Postdoctoral Fellow in the Arts of Africa, with Catherine Futter, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, and Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture, and Rhea Stark, Curatorial Assistant, Arts of Africa, Asia, and the Islamic World, Brooklyn Museum.
Created by the V&A—
touring the world
Major support provided by ALÁRA.
Special thanks to OkayAfrica/Okayplayer, a media sponsor for this exhibition.