North Central College presents a free art exhibit by senior Taylor Mithelman through May 1 in the College's Oesterle Library Gallery, 320 E. School St.. Titled "Agbamevo: The Voice of the Ewe Kente Weaver," the exhibit will showcase Mithelman's photography, sculpture, weavings and textiles. Call 630-637-5700 for gallery hours; visit northcentralcollege.edu/show for details.
Kente-woven textile is often represented as a unifying symbol of Ghana, Pan-Africanism, and even African American culture. Beneath this unification is a history of controversy and discord between two ethnic groups: the Asante and the Ewe. The work of Ewe weavers has been largely overlooked within Ghana as well as in the international community. Seeking to explore this topic, Mithelman spent two weeks in Kpetoe, Ghana, learning how to weave kente and conducting in-depth interviews with weavers.
“Throughout history, we often fail to hear or recognize the voice of those who have been conquered, oppressed, or ignored by those in power. The story of kente weaving in Ghana is no different.” Mithelman exclaims. “Through this experience I was able to listen directly to each weaver and their personal experiences with kente. This exposed many details regarding the origins of kente, but more importantly it reexamined a textile that art historians have collected for decades, this time in terms of the weaver’s influence. Placing the weaver in the center of discussion of such a seminal textile calls many assumptions previously made about kente into question.”
The exhibit title, Agbamevo, means “loom-cloth” in the Ewe language. Using this term is one of many ways Mithelman seeks to give voice to the Ewe kente weaving experience in this exhibit. The weavers’ connection to the textile is communicated visually through the presence of both the textile itself and photo portraits of each weaver. An emphasis on this connection is made through additional sculpture pieces, which also serve as reminders that there are still people behind the products we purchase.
North Central College’s 2015-2016 Fine and Performing Arts Season is partially sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, Marquette Companies, Nicor Gas, Ryan Hill Realty, Advanced Data Technologies, Savant Capital Management, USG Corporation, Monarch Landing, Naperville Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund, Illinois Arts Council Agency, DuPage Foundation and Naperville Development Partnership.
This exhibit is among many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. North Central offers a variety of venues accommodating a rich range of local and world-class events, performances and space needs for the public. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical and dance productions, art exhibits and more, visit northcentralcollege.edu/show or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).