Author, Artist, Storyteller
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Mapping the Met

"It’s fun to wander around the Metropolitan Museum of Art without a paper guide, but students in the School of Visual Arts’ MFA Visual Narrative program have created a number of creative, interactive maps for the museum well worth consulting. MAPPING THE MET presents eight mixed media maps based on data the students collected from various galleries housing the museum’s permanent collections. Each features the student’s own drawings of selected art, often accompanied with basic historical information." -HYPERALLERGIC

This work focuses on the African Wing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, depicting African textiles as a language through which locals would communicate.

THE MET—AFRICANA WING:

      FINALIZED MAP WITH LOCAL AFRICAN TEXTILES:

FINALIZED MAP WITH LOCAL AFRICAN TEXTILES:

Map of Metropolitan Africana Wing

Map of Metropolitan Africana Wing

African Textiles differ by region, but often use similar pattern work and color to convey ideas and stories that can be translated through image. The Metropolitan Museum has a small collection of African art, but each one has a voice and pattern that communicates, creating a conglomerate of African textile language.

COMMONALITIES:

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      FINALIZED GIFS:

FINALIZED GIFS:

 A woman’s skirt

A woman’s skirt

Security

Security

Most African art is functional, displaying many patterns that seem to move throughout the piece. Most sharp lines and boxes indicate security or strength, as shown in this woman’s skirt.

 A green, beaded vase

A green, beaded vase

Ingenuity

Ingenuity

A function piece with sharp lines, like daggers. These “teeth” often can symbolize ingenuity, which serves for this vases functionality.

 Long blue scarf

Long blue scarf

Leadership

Leadership

Consecutive rigid lines often mean leadership as well as discipline. This scarf could’ve been owned and worn by someone of a higher social status, which could also be indicative by the color, as blue was not common.

 Another woman’s skirt

Another woman’s skirt

Loyalty

Loyalty

Often times curves or circles in textiles can mean one or two things: loyalty and/or greatness. Speckled together, they often symbolize commitment.

 El Anatsui’s many pieces made from recycled goods in Africa.

El Anatsui’s many pieces made from recycled goods in Africa.

Superiority

Superiority

Patterns taken from El Anatsui’s work. The flower can symbolize superiority or prosperity, and ironic twist on Anatsui’s “trash sculptures.” Anatsui uses gold to symbolize both status and wealth, most likely alluding to the African rich coast.

 a commemorative piece, used in celebration

a commemorative piece, used in celebration

Unity

Unity

This symbol is often used to showcase unity or perseverance. A commemorative piece such as this could also indicate themes of democracy and/or cooperation.

 a hanging tapestry

a hanging tapestry

Protection

Protection

Diamonds are a common pattern in African textiles that can mean protection. More often than not, they can mean procession and skillfulness as well.

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