Brooks Hagan (Assistant Professor, Textiles) will participate in a panel discussion in conjunction with the recently opened show at the Neuberger Museum, Kuba Textiles: Geometry in Form, Space and Time.
In the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Kuba peoples are renowned for their cut-pile raffia cloths. When sewn together and layered, they form extraordinary skirts and overskirts that wrap around the body multiple times. Characterized by resplendent surface elaboration, these garments are detailed and complex like other Kuba decorative arts, a feature found in no other African kingdom. Remarkable not only for their beauty but also for their large scale — some of these textiles reach nearly thirty feet in length — they are worn on special occasions by men and women, and display the status of the wearer.
Kuba Textiles: Geometry in Form, Space, and Time is the first exhibition to bring together works from two of the earliest collections of Kuba textiles: the Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgium, founded by Leopold II in 1897, and the Sheppard Collection at Hampton University in Virginia, gathered between 1890 and 1910 by the American Presbyterian Congo missionary, William Henry Sheppard, the first Westerner to be received by a Kuba king in 1892. Additional important loans to the exhibition come from the Brooklyn Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and three private collections.