The Esther dress by Patience Torlowei, a Nigerian artist, and the first and only piece of couture to join the museum’s permanent collection, was on display last week at an exhibition at The Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, USA. The exhibition themed “I AM…, Contemporary Women Artists of Africa”, was the first all-female exhibit in the museum’s 55-year history and it attracted quite a number of visitors.
The work of art which tells the story of the plight of the Niger-Deltans, was gifted to the museum by the artist after being created as part of the National Museum of African Art’s 50th anniversary celebrations, centred around the theme “Earth Matters”. The dress, made in acrylic paint on raw silk, comprises of several localised scenes not unknown in many parts of Africa and addresses issues such as illegal logging, piracy, environmental pollution, blood diamonds, etc. More details to follow later.