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Fowler Museum Exhibition: African-Print Fashion Now!

Raised toward our $20,000 Goal
174 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 01, at 11:59 PM PST
Project Owners

Fowler Museum Exhibition: African-Print Fashion Now!

Our exhibition is live! Please visit our Fowler Exhibition page to learn more:

African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style (on view March 26–July 30, 2017) will feature the dynamic and diverse dress traditions of African-print cloth—the boldly patterned and brightly colored textiles popular across Africa—and their increasing connections to the international fashion and contemporary art worlds. This exhibition and accompanying programs will build awareness of African art and culture, and the central role print cloth has played in the expression of African identity since the 19th century. The Fowler Museum is uniquely situated to provide historical context to this emerging global fashion phenomenon and to challenge perceptions of Africa as static and culturally isolated.

You can help the Fowler present this important project at UCLA, along with complementary public and educational programs for audiences of all ages. Read on to learn more and take part! 


The Fowler will organize the first major museum exhibition to focus on fashions from the continent and diaspora that feature African-print cloth, and will develop a rich array of public programs and educational outreach initiatives to bring the stunning beauty and innovation of African fashion to broad and diverse Southern California audiences. 

On Saturday, March 25, 2017, the exhibition will open to the public with a celebratory event featuring a panel discussion with featured designers and fashion industry leaders. Guests will be invited to dress in their African-print finest for exciting photo opportunities throughout the Museum. In the spring of 2017 the Fowler will collaborate with Ankara Festival Los Angeles (AFLA) to organize a day-long African arts and fashion festival with activities for all ages on campus at UCLA. 

                                 artworxLA teaching artist with student              artworxLA fashion academy show

As part of the Fowler's School Visit Program, we will provide free bus transportation for K-12 students from underserved schools to visit the Museum, have educator-led tours of African-Print Fashion Now!, and participate in art-making activities incorporating print cloth. The Museum will engage the fashion academy of artworxLA—a local nonprofit offering arts classes to at-risk youth to combat the high-school dropout crisis—in a months-long partnership, culminating in a display of student fashions inspired by African-print fashion on the UCLA campus. To make this vision a reality, we are partnering with UCLA Spark to raise $20,000 by December 1!   


Be a part of this exciting project by contributing to the African-Print Fashion Now! Exhibition Fund with a gift of $10 or more before December 1. Your important donation will directly contribute to realizing the exhibition and offering free public and educational programs. Your gift will support the following components of the project:

African-Print Fashion Now! Exhibition & Publication:

  • Installation design and materials, including over 60 mannequins and custom dress forms.
  • A companion publication that will be the first to focus exclusively on African print-fashion and its development from the 19th century to the present day.

Public and Educational Programs:

  • Fashion- and art-filled exhibition opening celebration in March 2017.
  • African arts and fashion event organized with Ankara Festival Los Angeles in spring 2017.  

Fowler's K-12 School Visit Program:

  • Free bus transportation for up to 5 underserved K-12 schools (500 students) to visit the Fowler and have educator-led tours of African-Print Fashion Now!
  • Materials for exhibition-related art activities during K-12 school visits.
  • Collaboration with artworxLA to develop fashion workshops for high school students using African-print cloth as inspiration.

Every gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by longtime Fowler Museum patrons Jay and Deborah Last with a contribution to the Fowler Fund, which provides unrestricted support the Museum’s year-round activities.


In thanks for your support, at various levels you’ll receive some super cool perks like:

  • A year of Membership to the Fowler Museum at UCLA
  • An invitation to celebrate the opening of African-Print Fashion Now! with curators and designers in March 2017
  • 20% discount on Amba home decor products featuring African textiles, plus gift boxes filled with wax-print cushions, placemats, and more!
  • 15% discount on Zuvaa, an online marketplace for African fashion 
  • 10% off your stay at Hotel Angeleno during opening weekend (March 24-26, 2017), plus complimentary drinks and breakfast for two!
  • 50% off tickets to Ankara Festival LA in September 2017
  • Signed books, tote bags, and more!    

                                                Amba wax-print cushions                                     Zuvaa fashions


African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style will share the fascinating global history of African-print cloth—from its roots in Indonesian and Indian batiks to European manufactured versions and ultimate pan-African appeal. This exhibition will offer audiences the opportunity to learn more about these textiles and to view the totally unique styles into which they are made, as well as contemporary artworks inspired by the cloths' rich and varied patterns, colors, and meanings. On display will be popular forms of dress created by local African seamstresses and tailors across the continent; international runway fashions designed by Africa’s newest generation of couturiers; cloth and couture fashions from Vlisco, a Dutch producer of wax prints that have been the gold standard since the 1890s; and extraordinary West African black-and-white studio portraits from the 1970s. 


The Fowler will draw upon recent collections from designers Ituen Basi and Lanre da Silva Ajayi of Nigeria, Gilles Touré and Dent de Man of Côte d’Ivoire, Titi Ademola of Ghana, Adama Paris of Senegal, Walé Oyéjidé for Ikiré Jones, among others. Also on display will be the prom dress that gained internet fame for its New Jersey-based designer Kyemah McEntyre, alongside her latest creations. 


The exhibition will also feature contemporary artists whose work with print-cloth reveals the continuum between fashion and art as well as the enduring meanings and legacy of print-cloth in Africa and the its Diaspora. The exhibition will present photographs by Omar Victor Diop, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, and Hassan Hajjaj; paintings by Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga; and a mural by graffiti artist Docta. These contemporary works suggest the hybridity of urban transnational African culture and communicate messages about identity, loss and displacement, and the imaginings of an Africa in the future.



The Fowler Museum at UCLA explores global arts and cultures with an emphasis on works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas—past and present. Since its inception in 1963, the Fowler has been committed to providing thought-provoking exhibitions and engaging global arts programs that reflect and inspire the multicultural communities of Los Angeles. The Fowler’s collections comprise more than 120,000 works of art and material culture, from the ancient to the contemporary. One of the largest and finest in the United States, and one of the top twenty African collections worldwide, the Fowler's Arts of Africa and the African Diaspora Collection offers a superb representation of the arts of many African nations, including Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa. The collection contains significant holdings of West African textiles from countries such as Mali and Ghana, as well as arts from the African Diaspora in the Americas.


We are grateful for the encouragement and support of our generous partners to help promote African cultural awareness, the African-Print Fashion Now! exhibition and the Fowler Museum at UCLA. If your company or organization would like to support this project with a donation, in-kind gift, or through marketing and social media, please contact Michael Ruff, Director of Development, at or (310) 825-0663. A variety of partnership opportunities are available.


Thank you for your heartfelt gifts to our crowdfunding campaign. Your donations directly contribute to our efforts to bring this exhibition to greater audiences. 

Spread the word! Help us share this project on social media and encourage your friends and family to join you in supporting the Fowler Museum. Follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. #AfricanFashionNow #FowlerMuseum

Remember to visit us! Admission to the Fowler is always free to all.

*As is the practice of other museums across the nation, raising funds for exhibitions occurs concurrently with their planning and preparation. 

Image credits, from top, and left to right: 

Couture ensemble, wax print, cotton; Vlisco, the Netherlands. Adama Amanda Ndiaye (b. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo), Fashion designer, Adama Paris, Dakar, Senegal, Dress, Handwoven cloth, cotton; African-print headscarf, cotton, Courtesy of the Designer. A medley of African-print cloths, wax print, Vlisco, the Netherlands; cotton; Fowler Museum at UCLA. Jacques Touselle (b. Bamessingué, Cameroon, 1939), Portrait of friends wearing African-print dresses, circa 1977; Black and white photograph; ©Jacques Touselle. Oumar Ly (1943–2016), Portrait of young woman from a village on the Senegal River near Podor, 1966; Black and white photograph; ©Oumar Ly—Marie Louise & Fils. Kyemah McEntyre (b. 1997, Newark, New Jersey), Prom dress, 2015; African-print cloth, Angelina, cotton; courtesy of the designer; photograph by Mohammed Sulley. Titi Ademola (b. Nigeria), Fashion designer, Kiki Clothing Accra, Ghana, Graphic Print Balloon Dress, 2012, African-print cloth, Cotton, Fowler Museum at UCLA; Museum Purchase. Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga (b. 1991, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo), Oubliez le passé et vous perdez les deux yeux (Forget the Past and Lose Both Eyes), 2016 Acrylic and oil on canvas; courtesy October Gallery, London; photograph by Jonathan Greet. Omar Victor Diop (Senegal), Model Aminata Faye, from the Studio of the Vanities series; © Omar Victor Diop. 

Copyright 2016 Fowler Museum at UCLA, All rights reserved.

Please review UCLA and the UCLA Foundation’s Disclosure Statements for Prospective Donors at or contact Michael Ruff in the Fowler Development Office at or (310) 825-0663.       


Our way
of Thanking You



Thanks for supporting African cultural awareness! Join us for the exhibition's opening weekend and get 10% off your stay at Hotel Angeleno. (Your $10 gift is fully tax-deductible)

18 of 500 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: December 2016



Donations like this never go out of style! You'll get a shout out on Twitter and Facebook, plus a one-time 20% discount on Amba home decor products. (Your $25 gift is fully tax-deductible)

30 of 500 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: December 2016


Red Carpet

Walk the red carpet in style! You're invited to the exhibition’s opening party in March 2017, and you'll receive a one-time 15% discount on African fashions at Zuvaa. ($45 of your contribution is tax-deductible)

34 of 500 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2017


Fashion Insider

Year-long Individual Membership to the Fowler Museum. (Already a member? Gift your membership to a friend!) You'll also receive preferred seating at the opening night panel discussion with designers. ($80 of your contribution is tax-deductible)

39 of 50 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2017


Ankara Angel

You're one of a kind! Receive a limited-edition exhibition tote-bag featuring African-print, 50% off Ankara Fest LA 2017 tickets, and we will acknowledge your donation on our website. NEW: Get two free drinks at Hotel Angeleno's WEST Restaurant! ($200 of your contribution is tax-deductible)

9 of 25 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2017


Sartorial Scholar

Receive all of the above perks and a copy of the "African-Print Fashion Now!" publication signed by the curators. ($420 of your contribution is tax-deductible)

8 of 25 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2017


Vlisco VIP

You'll receive all of the above perks, plus a Zuvaa designer will provide you with an African-print dress for the exhibition's opening party in March 2017. ($720 of your contribution is tax-deductible)

0 of 5 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2017


Bespoke Benefactor

We will honor your generous donation by including your name on the exhibition title wall. You'll receive all of the above perks, plus a free Amba gift box with a selection of home decor products featuring African wax-print cloth. ($2,070 of your contribution is tax-deductible)

1 of 1 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2017


Style Connoisseur

Your incredible support will provide invaluable resources for developing the exhibition. You'll receive the above perks, plus an honorary Fowler Manus Membership for one year. ($4,485 of your contribution is tax-deductible)

0 of 1 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2017
Our Crowdfunding Groups