Social Fabric explores how the printed and factory-woven textiles of eastern and southern Africa mirror the changing times, fashions and tastes of the region. Bringing together kanga from Kenya and Tanzania, and shweshwe from southern Africa the exhibition reveals how these fabrics express the social, political, religious, emotional and even sexual concerns of the people who wear them.

The varied patterns and inscriptions are thought provoking and sometimes humorous. They convey an unspoken language, expressing thoughts and feelings which cannot always be spoken out loud. Worn in both secular and sacred contexts, the fabric plays a central role in all major rite-of-passage ceremonies in women’s, and in some cases, men’s lives.

20 February-29 May
Wednesday to Sunday 10-5
The William Morris Gallery, Forest Road, London, E17 4PP 

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