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Gallery Conversation: Kanga Cloths—East African Culture, Design … – Art Institute of Chicago

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Mon, Oct 30 | 2:00–2:45
Free with museum admission
Join Janet Purdy, associate curator of textiles, for a discussion of the history of the colorful, industrially-printed textiles known as kanga and the social and cultural symbolism expressed in their designs and proverbs. Explore eight works on display in the African galleries spanning five countries. 
Janet Marion Purdy Ph.D is associate curator of textiles at the Art Institute of Chicago and a lecturer in art history at the University of Chicago and Cleveland State University. 
Prior to joining the Art Institute in 2020, she co-curated African Brilliance: A Diplomat’s Sixty Years of Collecting (2020) at the Palmer Museum of Art and served as assistant curator for At Home In Africa: Design, Beauty, and Pleasing Irregularity in Domestic Settings (2014) at Galleries at Cleveland State University.
A Fulbright scholar (Zanzibar, Tanzania, 2018–19), she is especially interested in talismanic designs and their protective functions as they are transmitted across textiles, jewelry, and architectural adornment.


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