Opening today, "Fabric of Life: African Textiles and Quilts from the American South" and "Kente in the Community" will reveal the vivid colors and strikingly original patterns of African textiles and how they made their mark on African-American quilt design.
Many objects in the exhibits are part of the museum's permanent collection, but are rarely exhibited.
"The Museum is fortunate to have a truly outstanding collection of Alabama-made quilts and textiles from Africa," noted Gail Andrews, the museum's director. "We are very pleased to offer this opportunity to see exceptional objects that, because of their sensitivity to light, are rarely on view."
In addition to the museum-owned works, the African textiles at the exhibit are lent from Birmingham families. Some are made from cotton, others from Kente cloth -- a woven fabric from Ghana that was worn by kings and chiefs of the Asante and Ewe people. The unique patterns, which range from brightly colored fabric to subdued tones, exerted their influence across the Atlantic.