TASA’s Fall Program: Curator’s Talk on the High Museum’s African Art Collection

On Tuesday, October 29, Carol Thompson, Curator of African Art at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta presented an informative program on African textiles to a group of 35 TASA members. The program was held in the Works on Paper Gallery in the lower level of the High Museum adjacent to the African Gallery.

In her talk and image presentation, Carol highlighted contemporary African textile design and the work of Ghana-born, Nigerian-based artist El Anatsui, as well as traditional African textiles, including those textiles recently displayed at the High’s Symmetry/Asymmetry exhibit.  She traced the history of African textiles and how they were originally used as currency.

Carol reviewed pieces in the High’s African art collection and showed design similarities among sculptural and textile pieces. She referenced African textile books and upcoming events to watch for—such as the space expansion of the High’s African Gallery.  She also shared a Yoruba adire stitch resist indigo dyed cloth from Nigeria and displayed, from onsite storage, a magnificent silk kente cloth.

Following Carol’s formal presentation, Michael Mack, African textile collector, talked about traditional African textiles selected from his collection. Michael explained the significance of the iconography of the designs and way the textiles were made and how they were used. Michael displayed several of his textiles on the conference table and along the walls of the Works on Paper Gallery for TASA members to study.   Here is a “slideshow” of some of the highlights.

Submitted by Gail Goodwin

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