Fashion designer tells the story of her ancestors

Asante Sana fashions to exhibit in Ritchie Hall

Kent State University, Ohio-The Uumbaji Gallery located in Kent State University’s Oscar Ritchie Hall is pleased to present Retold: African Culture and fables reinterpreted into fashion, an exhibition of African-inspired fashion by award-winning designer, Tameka N. Ellington, Ph.D.  An opening reception will take place Thursday, September 15, 2016 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Remarks from Dr. Ellington will start at 6 p.m.  The exhibit will show from September 11- October 1, 2016.  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. For example, “—My piece entitled The Offspring was inspired by the Nigerian indigo dying and the adinkra symbols of the Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast.  The Nyangatom Woman was inspired by the garb worn by married women of the Nyangatom tribe indigenous to the Omo Valley in Ethiopia and the 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.”

Origin of Anansi-2Ellington’s work has been shown internationally, including two exhibitions in Beijing, China and a semi-solo 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.  Ellington adds, “My work is a way to give homage to and tell the story of my ancestors.  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 our students, faculty, staff and the community to global issues that are of interest to us all.  Our venue breaks barriers and encourages new dialogues.  For more information about this and upcoming exhibits in the Uumbaji Art Gallery, contact: Moema Furtado, Curator-Uumbaji Art Gallery, Oscar Ritchie Hall, room 134, email: and phone: 865-335-2670.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - 3:44pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 5:29pm