‘’Re-coding African fashion and hairstyle’’: exploring African fashion in Berlin

Contemporary and historical perspective on African Fashion at the Kunstgewerbemuseum

October 02nd, 2019
Ismini Venetatou and Giulia Russo Wälti, News from Berlin
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‘’Re-coding African fashion and Hairstyles’’ is a public event organized by the Kunstgewerbenmuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) within the context of the exhibition Connecting Afro Futures, in the field of fashion, hair, and design, taking place from August 24th, 2019, until December 1st, 2019 in Berlin.

The event taking place on October 18th will be moderated by Cornelia Lund, an art, film and media theorist and curator, living in Berlin.  The program of the event will include a film screening and speeches held by the following guests; the artists Mwangi Hutter, Tamar Clarke-Brown, Isaac Kariuki, Maseho, the musician Saliou Cisshoko and professors Carol Tulloch, Elke Gaugele and Noliwe Rooks.

The speakers, namely experts from the artistic and academic field, will present different approaches from contemporary and historical perspectives on the role of African fashion. This topic is part of the more general critical discourse focusing on the challenge of stereotypes about African culture. Moreover, fashion as other forms of arts contribute to shaping ethnic identities. By opposing the more established Western fashion industry, the aim is to guarantee the social and political affirmation of the African continent as diverse and dynamic.

The purpose of the exhibition is to promote transcultural collaboration and the exchange of knowledge between the partners, that consist of cultural programs from Kambala, Berlin, Hamburg, and Dakar. The project does not only exhibit the world of African fashion, hair, and design but also raises the debate on its representation through art culture and museums.

The exhibition is supported by TURN, the fund for artistic cooperation between Germany and African Countries, which was founded in 2012 by the Federal Cultural Foundation. The Federal Cultural Foundation endorses the thematic and artistic exchange by arranging project-related forums for German experts and the participating African countries. TURN is attempting to direct the interest of German art institutions to the African art scene and the cultural debates it provokes.

Fashion and hair in the African context, as well as the question of Afro Futures, are tackled from a decolonized perspective on global developments in design. In conclusion, the event offers an alternative and fresh outlook on African culture and fashion in contrast to the dominant Western approach to the forms of art.


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