Africa has always been one of the forgotten continents in the white-washed textbooks’ history. From the mid-20th century to the present, Africa has seen a cultural renaissance during its liberation years where fashion, visual arts, and music have flourished. In order to celebrate this reemerged creativity, The Brooklyn Museum is currently hosting Africa Fashion, an exhibition with over three-hundred pieces including textiles, jewellery, music, film, and photography. Definitely, the largest one that has been presented about this matter in North America so far. Open to the public until October 22, you can’t miss it!
If you stop to think about it, the decolonisation of Africa is something pretty recent. Only a hundred years ago, 90% of the continent was still under European control, and it wasn’t after WWII that native Africans started to take back their lands. The last country that secured its freedom was Djibouti in 1977. Consequently, a movement which defends a unified sense of identity among African ancestries was born, Pan-Africanism. Like all social and political movements, it’s had its impact on art and culture at large. And that’s what the exhibition tries to show: the emerging African artists from the independence era to today that had and have a global influence (taking a special focus on fashion).

So, which names can you find in Africa Fashion? The exhibition starts with global African fashion pioneers such as Kofi Ansah, Shade Thomas-Fahm or Naïma Bennis from Ghana, Nigeria, and Morocco respectively. They were the first ones to have international recognition while still establishing their brands in their hometowns. Then, it continues with more contemporary creatives like South African designer Thebe Magugu, who’s dressed Rihanna in one of his F/W21 pieces and has collaborated with Dior, or the multidisciplinary emergent talent Gouled Ahmed. As well as the photographers Daniel Obasi (we’ve interviewed him!) or Omar Victor Diop. In the exhibition, we will also be able to find ensembles from brands like Maison ARTC or Orange Culture. In total, more than forty designers and artists from twenty African countries that show, once again, the huge diversity and richness within the continent.
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