Wandering Spirits With Strong Souls

The dreams and secrets lie within the fabrics

Campus Life > Wandering Spirits With Strong Souls
Wandering Spirits With Strong Souls

Could these be A Dream Deferred? 

Joanna Kristine Ninal

Art is a way to express feelings, emotions and past and current events, and has served as a form of expression for years. 

The Karl and Helen Burger Gallery located in the Center for Academic Success (CAS) features art exhibits every semester that portray cultures from around the world.

Several people of African descent have contributed to the world-class culture on campus and across the globe. Throughout February, Kean University has held multiple cultural events that celebrate and illuminate the black experience in the United States, including discussions on social justice issues.

In celebration of Black History Month, Kean University is hosting "Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints" at the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery from Wednesday, February 1, 2017 to Friday, March 3, 2017. University Relations sent out an e-mail to students and faculty regarding all the events of this month and information on the "The Wandering Spirit" exhibition.

According to the e-mail, Neil Tetkowski, director of Kean University Galleries, said, "The 'Wandering Spirit' exhibition is a great opportunity for visitors of the Burger Gallery to consider the cultural dynamic that drives taste and trends in clothing and fashion.”

The works in 'Wandering Spirit' trace the history of the African wax print and show how these fabrics reflect the stories, dreams and personalities of the people who wear them. 'Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints' was curated by Dr. Gifty Benson and organized by Exhibits USA/Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City, MO.

"The success of the wax prints on the African scene is driven by many factors, such as the culture, taste, and desires of the African consumers. Clothing in Africa serves an important means of communication, sending secret messages and retelling local proverbs. Clothing also depicts a person’s social status and position, political convictions, ambition, marital status, ethnicity, age, sex and group affiliations. The names and stories associated with the fabrics differ from country to country and region to region. One fabric may have different names in different countries, depending on the symbolism that the consumer can read in the fabric," excerpted from ExhibitsUSA.

The exhibition is full of wax prints and traditional African clothing that students may visit and look at. Each print and dress comes with a description on where the fabric was made and what it represents.

The gallery is open Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kean University always offers a variety of theatre, dance, exhibits, lectures and other cultural events all year. Black History Month lectures and exhibits are free and open to the public.

about the author

Joanna Kristine Ninal, Staff Writer

Joanna Kristine Ninal is an English education double major with minors in Asian and Chinese studies. Ninal works as a Staff Writer for The Cougar's Byte since fall 2016. Ninal loves to play video games, such as “Overwatch” and “Final Fantasy XIV”, as well as create projects such as videos, stories and scripts in her free time. She loves to read and write, especially dramatic and romantic themes in young adult literature like the Harry Potter series and the To All The Boys I've Loved Before series. Her goal in life is to be an English teacher and travel around to teach in countries such as Japan, China and South Korea.