to main navigation

to content

to area navigation

Textile art from Africa and modern art

Project Organizers:
Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden,
Staatliche Ethnographische Sammlungen Sachsen 

The aim is to relate non-European and European/western concepts of art at a level that goes beyond the merely formal. In doing so, the theme of “art” in different social and cultural contexts will be investigated through analysis of both form and content. In Africa, textiles not only fulfil a functional task; they are also important as carriers of information and as means of artistic expression. They provide a projection surface for the living environment, for the self-reflection of the individual as part of social reality and also as an element of transcendence and communication with the supernatural. The symbolic abstract design vocabulary of the textiles serves largely to encipher knowledge and encode messages. The creative media employed are not dissimilar to those of paintings and graphic works, particularly in abstract artistic styles, produced in the northern hemisphere. It is hoped that the cooperation between ethnology and art history will lead to a deeper understanding of the artistic creations emanating from very different cultural backgrounds and thus to an expansion of the western concept of “art”.

Intended Results and Aims:
Exhibition, publication, academic colloquium

From 2009, date for the exhibition not yet decided

Budgetary resources

Project Manager:
Silvia Dolz, Curator  

Cooperation Partners:
IWALEWA-Haus at the University of Bayreuth
(Dr. U. Viercke, S. Horsch-Albert);
Museum der Kulturen, Basle;
Ethnologisches Seminar at the University of Basle (Dr. Kerstin Bauer);
Museum für Völkerkunde, Vienna (Dr. B. Plankensteiner);
Royal Ontario Museum Toronto (Dr. Sarah Fee);
Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, Munich
(Dr. Ch. Stelzig, Dr. St. Eisenhofer);
A. Korolnik-Andersch, Carona, Switzerland

Interim Results, Publications:
Workshop, essays


Hip scarf as loincloth for dance celebration, Imbuti (Pymies), Ituri Region, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2nd half of the 20th century, Bark of a fig tree, 80 x 50 cm; Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Photo: Jens Tümmler