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"What a show should be: "coherent, stylish and surprising"
-Holland Cotter, The New York Times, November 25, 2005

“Perfectly gorgeous...bewitching
...an unforgettable experience”
-Benjamin Genocchio, The New York Times, December 11, 2005




Discover the artistic diversity and visual splendor of African men’s dress in this first exhibition of its kind in the United States.  Power Dressing: Men’s Fashion and Prestige in Africa brings together fifty spectacular examples of male attire from across the continent, from Morocco to South Africa, representing over a century of fashion.

Drawn from the Museum’s own important collection, as well as from private and public lenders, the works on view reveal how a man’s clothing can define, sustain and reinforce ideas about  power and status.

The exhibition is organized into four broad and intersecting themes—Style and Status, Fit for a King, Divine Dress, and Identity and Innovation—that offer rich insights into the meanings of men's fashions within Africa's diverse and ever-changing cultural and political landscape.

This exhibition was made possible by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., the Prudential Foundation, The LINKS of Essex County, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.




Banner: War shirt and belt (batakari), 20th century Ghana; probably Asante, Cotton, leather, iron, fur, wool, copper; 35 5/8 x 60 in. (shirt); 2 ½ x 57 in. (belt), Newark Museum, Purchase 1986 Thomas L. Raymond Bequest Fund


Above: Oba Ademuwagun Adesida II the Déjì of Akure, on throne in courtyard of Akure palace, Yoruba peoples, Nigeria, Photograph by Eliot Elisofon, 1959, image no. 2071. Eliot Elisofon Photographic archives, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution


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