'Wrapped in Pride' Bessie Smith Cultural Center hosts exhibition of Ghanaian kente

'Wrapped in Pride' Bessie Smith Cultural Center hosts exhibition of Ghanaian kente

February 11th, 2011 by Staff Report in News

Ghanaian kente, its uses and role in African-American identity and culture, is showcased at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center through March 16.

" 'Wrapped in Pride' is a captivating and interactive exhibition that will be certainly enjoyed by visitors of all ages," said Carmen Davis, education director of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. "The exhibit provides an excellent opportunity for the community to learn more about the African culture and its art forms."

Kente has its origins in the former Gold Coast of West Africa as festive dress for special occasions -- traditionally worn by men as a kind of toga and by women as upper and lower wrappers. During the past 40 years, as kente's popularity has blossomed, the cloth has been used in hats, ties, bags, shoes, jewelry and many other accessories worn on both sides of the Atlantic.

Developed by the National Endowment for Humanities, "Wrapped in Pride" is composed of 108 objects and more than 500 examples of the vibrantly colored kente cloth. The show explores the art of making kente, its symbolism in the cultures of Africa and the expression of identity in black culture.

Visitors to the exhibit will begin by exploring kente weaving traditions, seeing examples of historic and contemporary kente and numerous objects incorporating its patterns. Some objects are specifically designed for guests to touch.

The show also highlights how kente was used throughout African as garment and ceremonial cloth and how it is incorporated in today's American fashion designs.

Bessie Smith Cultural Center, 200 E. M.L. King Blvd., is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors/students, $3 for children 6-12 and free for children under 5. Call 266-8658.