Fashion Designer Tells the Story of Her Ancestors in New Exhibition | e-Inside | Kent State University

Fashion Designer Tells the Story of Her Ancestors in New Exhibition

Asante Sana fashions to exhibit in Ritchie Hall

The Uumbaji Gallery located in Kent State University’s Ritchie Hall is pleased to present Retold: African Culture and Fables Reinterpreted Into Fashion, an exhibition of African-inspired fashion by award-winning designer and Kent State Assistant Professor of Fashion Design Tameka N. Ellington, Ph.D. An opening reception will take place Thursday, Sept. 15, from 5-7 p.m. Remarks from Ellington will start at 6 p.m. The exhibit will be on display from Sept. 11-Oct. 1. Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. This exhibit is free and open to the public.  

In this exhibition, most of Ellington’s inspiration comes from references to African culture, art, folklore and fables from different regions of Africa. Her pieces are created through use of African-style batik, digital textile design and leather tooling.

“My piece titled The Offspring was inspired by the Nigerian indigo dyeing and the adinkra symbols of the Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast,” Ellington says. “The Nyangatom Woman was inspired by the garb worn by married women of the Nyangatom tribe indigenous to the Omo Valley in Ethiopia and South Sudan. Singed: How the Zebra Got its Stripes retells the story from the South African San people regarding the brawl between a baboon and a zebra, who in the beginning was born with an all-white coat. The two animals were fighting over who owned the drinking water, and during the fight, the zebra fell into a pit of fire, and its all-white coat was burned.”

Ellington’s work has been shown internationally, including at two exhibitions in Beijing, China, and a semisolo exhibition with two other artists. She has published in international peer-reviewed journals and is a two-time featured author in the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion

“My work is a way to give homage to and tell the story of my ancestors,” Ellington says. “My exhibition work hopes to further the audiences’ knowledge of African culture. It aims to inspire alternative ways to use batik, digital printing and leather tooling for storytelling purposes.”

The Uumbaji Art Gallery is committed to exhibiting works that speak to a wide audience, thereby exposing students, faculty, staff and the community to global issues that are of interest to us all. The venue breaks barriers and encourages new dialogues. 

For more information about this and upcoming exhibits in the Uumbaji Art Gallery, contact Moema Furtado, curator of the Uumbaji Art Gallery, at Ritchie Hall, Room 134, email or call 865-335-2670.