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Africa Museum Night: Beyond the Mask

Africa Museum Night: Beyond the Mask

On Thursday February 13, the Harn Museum of Art hosted Africa Museum Night: Beyond the Mask. The event provided attendees with the opportunity to make jewelry, try on kente cloth, visit various booths relating to African Studies, and view exhibitions inspired by artists from across Africa. The event also included a panel discussion, family activity, and reception for The Spiritual Highway: Religious World Making in Megacity Lagos, an exhibit featuring the photographs of award-winning photographer Akintunde Akinleye (Carleton University) that capture the fervor of Muslim and Christian practice in Lagos, Nigeria. Mr. Akinleye spoke about his work along with Dr. Marloes Janson (SOAS, University of London), the organizer of the project.

Kente Demonstration

Kente cloth is made from silk and cotton yarns interwoven into strips. These strips are finally joined together on the longer side to achieve the desired length of cloth. Colors, symbols (adinkra), shapes, and other designs can be woven into the kente. The kente cloth is very unique to Ghana.  It is worn typically on important occasions like marriage ceremonies, festivals, graduation ceremonies and the inauguration of presidents. In recent years, the kente is used as academic stoles during graduation ceremonies.

Felicity Tackey-Otoo gave a presentation and demonstration on the kente. Guests were able to come to her stand to watch and participate in the demonstration of the kente cloth. She built two 6x7ft high backdrops and hanged kente print fabrics as the backdrop fabric. The set up was beautifully done and decorated with Ghanaian stools, little drum and calabash shakers.

Ebenezer Tackey-Otoo and Kofi Asabere Asare helped to build the set-up, erect the backdrops for the photo sessions. Ebenezer and Kofi also taught the men how to wear the one-piece cloth and the ladies were taught how to wear the one-piece wrappers and glass beads. Felicity was dressed in kente cloth with glass beads on her neck and wrist. She also added gold trimming as her head, arm and ankle bands. Guests as the museum also tried on the various attires.

She also answered questions related to clothing and textiles dressing in Ghana. The guests were very enthusiastic and wanted to know more about Ghana and very excited about the photo sessions we had s part of the demonstration.

Kente Demonstration Recap Written by Felicity Tackey-Otoo