- CUAG Downtown
Conversation Pieces: African Textiles from Barbara and Bill McCann’s Collection
February 14 - April 24, 2011
This exhibition examines the role of conversation and, more broadly, communication, in the acquisition, understanding and exhibition of textiles from the McCanns’ rich collection.
The exhibition presents approximately sixty textile works and a wide range of garments acquired by the McCanns since 1970, in countries from Morocco to South Africa, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Andrews without their Heads (1998), a textile-based installation work by Yinka Shonibare, loaned by the National Gallery of Canada.
Whether created as emblems of prestige, to commemorate particular events or individuals, to offer protection, or to identify a rite of passage, textiles and clothing throughout the African continent are actively employed to communicate concepts of identity, history, and community.
Highlights of the exhibition include an intricately-appliquéd raffia woman’s skirt from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a cotton hunter’s shirt from Mali adorned with leather amulets and mirrors, a richly-embroidered cotton man’s gown from Nigeria, a Moroccan wool hooded cloak featuring a vivid red “eye” motif, and a three-part bridal outfit (smock, shawl and trousers) from Egypt’s Siwa Oasis region.
Conversation Pieces highlights the many ways that textiles initiate dialogue about and between people in Africa and elsewhere.
Artists in the exhibition