Fowler at Home
- By Arlene Winnick
I was first introduced to the Fowler Museum at UCLA by a friend who took me to their annual textile sale where hundreds of amazing fabrics from all over the world were on display. When I heard about their new ‘virtual’ textile exhibits, I was excited to see what they had uncovered. Textiles as artwork truly reflect the culture of a region and a people. A Look Back: African-Print Fashion Now! takes us from the origins of the colorful boldly designed cottons with their evocative social messages to a display of today’s runway and ready-to-wear designs from Africa’s most talented couturiers. A particular standout: Actress Lapita Nyong’o wearing a classic handkerchief-hemmed dress from KiKi Clothing.
Then we travel to Australia’s northern territory for a very different perspective on creativity to view Aboriginal screen-printed textiles which express their ancestral stories and connections to the land. What adds to my fascination is the sheer ingenuity required to create these works of fabric art under challenging conditions in remote areas. Indigenous people from more than 100 clan groups come together as they have for centuries using ancient techniques and modern products to achieve the evocative tapestries. Lastly the focus is on vintage beadwork form Southern Africa with a range of vividly beaded garments and other decorative objects.
The Fowler website and @fowlermuseum Instagram accounts offers a variety of stimulating streaming activities and lectures.