Creative Africa Exhibition Series at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

30 Apr 2016 - 22 Jan 2017
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia


Dazzling Graphics Collection, 2011, Made by Vlisco. Photograph courtesy of Vlisco.


Alexandra Township, from the series Shebeen Blues, 2008 (negative); 2015 (print). Ananias Léki Dago, Ivorian, born 1970. Gelatin silver print, approximate: 24 × 20 inches (61 × 50.8 cm), Courtesy of the artist, © Ananias Léki Dago.


Gando School Library, Designed by Francis Kéré, Burkinabe, active Berlin. Photograph © Kéré Architecture.


Nouvelle Histoire collection, 2011, by Vlisco. Photograph by Carmen Kemmink.

Supported by a Center Advancement grant, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Creative Africa—a season of five exhibitions highlighting art and design from the African continent, from contemporary photography, fashion, and architecture to centuries-old sculpture. The extensive project features newly commissioned works of art and performances by acclaimed living African artists-in-residence, set against the backdrop of an exhibition of historical African art.

A collection of historic art and artifacts and four contemporary exhibitions of photography, fashion, textile, and architecture will be on view from April 2016–January 2017.

Three Photographers/Six Cities
April 30–September 25, 2016
Julien Levy Gallery
A unique look at life in six major African cities—Cairo, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Bamako, and Tombouctou—through the eyes of three contemporary African photographers: Akinbode Akinbiyi's careful observation of urban centers; Ananias Léki Dago's off-beat urban scenes; and Seydou Camara's examination of endangered Islamic manuscripts in Mali.

Vlisco: African Fashion on a Global Stage
April 30, 2016–January 22, 2017
Joan Spain Gallery
Known for its bold and colorful patterns that marry tradition with luxury, the Dutch company Vlisco has become one of the most influential textile brands in West and Central African fashion. This exhibition explores the company's most enduring designs, follows the creation of a new textile, and showcases a selection of contemporary fashions by African and European makers, as well as Vlisco's in-house design team.

Threads of Tradition
April 30–January 2017
Costume and Textiles Study Gallery
Admire the dazzling patterns of traditional African textiles and uncover the techniques used to achieve them. This exhibition highlights a selection of West and Central African textiles acquired by the museum in the last 15 years, alongside loans from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Among the works on view are exquisite examples of kente cloth, vibrant Ashanti, and Ewe textiles worn as a sign of wealth and prestige.

Look Again: Contemporary Perspectives on African Art
May 14-December 4, 2016
Special Exhibitions Gallery
Drawing from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology's collection—the largest of its kind in the US—Look Again displays a variety of works created in West and Central Africa from the 1500s to the 1900s. Included are carved ivories and bronze altar objects from the Kingdom of Benin, Kongo power figures, Kuba woven textiles and wood vessels, Ashanti gold weights, Kota reliquary figures, and more.

The Architecture of Francis Kéré: Building for Community
May 14–September 25, 2016
Collab Gallery and the Skylit Atrium
A site-specific environment designed by acclaimed Burkinabe architect Francis Kéré, this exhibition sheds light on Kéré's inventive approach to building, which views local expertise and materials as well as collective input as invaluable resources.

Visit the Creative Africa *website for a full schedule of events and exhibitions.*