From NewYorkTimes. Story by Joyce Beckenstein.
An intriguing back story enlivens the dazzling designs and astute scholarship on display in “Kuba Textiles: Geometry in Form, Space, and Time,” an exhibition of 19th- and early 20th-century African textiles now at the Neuberger Museum of Art.
The fabrics, from what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, provide historical insight into how the colonization of the region and the agendas of missionaries collided with the artistic and entrepreneurial savvy of the Kuba people, who lived there. The show also explores the impact that art from the area had on modernism’s greatest masters, Gustav Klimt in particular.
Because textiles have historically received less attention than other types of African art, the exhibition’s curator provided stylistic context by setting these rare garments amid 41 other never-before-seen-together objects.
The works in the exhibition were made by the Bushoong, one of 18 migratory groups that settled in the Kasai region of Africa during the 17th century. Under the leadership of powerful and highly organized Bushoong kings, these settlers ultimately formed the Kuba kingdom, whose thriving economy was based on the cultivation of the raffia palm. The Kuba processed the plant into building material, wine and, most notably, textiles.
Read more at NewYorkTimes.