African Headwear: Beyond Fashion

The exhibition African Headwear: Beyond Fashion presents a selection of headwear that was once—and in some instances still is—worn by kings and chiefs, religious practitioners, warriors, and men, women, and infants in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. It demonstrates the importance of headwear as a means of nonverbal communication about the wearer’s position in society and the stages in his or her life cycle. Above all, the exhibition celebrates the artistry of the hats, which are fashioned from natural materials and found objects in the local environment, as well as from foreign products that became available through trade or conquest.

Brochure from the exhibition, African Headwear: Beyond Fashion, on view at the Dallas Museum of Art,  August 14, 2011–January 1, 2012.