African Textile Exhibition to Show in Lynn Mecklenburg Gallery

The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection has a new exhibition in store for this summer.

Basket 1997, Kenya, on loan from Sandy Winder.

A Diverse Continent: African Textiles in Context will seek to celebrate the diversity of African culture through the lens of textile-making traditions. This free exhibition will take place from May 9 – July 26 at the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery at 1300 Linden Drive in Madison. It will showcase 36 textile pieces, 24 textile-making traditions, 18 countries, and a multitude of different materials ranging from raffia palm fiber to silk to recycled wire.

Curated by Dr. Natasha Thoreson with support from Sandy and Jack Winder, the goal of this project is to showcase the incredible diversity of textile material culture throughout Africa using specific example of textiles from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. The exhibition features several pieces from the Winder family’s personal collection.

As many reading this feature will well know, Africa is incredibly diverse in almost every way imaginable. Because of stereotypes and misconceptions spread about Africa through Western media and social networks, though, it can sometimes be difficult for people living in, say, Madison, to wrap their head around the fact that the biology, landscape, weather, ethnicity, language, culture, and religion of every country and territory on the continent actually varies dramatically. In this context, variation in textiles serves as a material, comprehensible evidence of this idea.

A Diverse Continent is the second exhibition planned for the newly opened Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery and HLATC’s 50th Anniversary in 2019. The Gallery is a permanent space dedicated to year-round, rotating displays of textiles and clothing from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. It is open Wednesday-Friday, 10 am to 4 pm (Thursday until 7 pm) and Saturday-Sunday, 12 pm to 4 pm. Admission is free.

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