Dress plays an important role in Nigerian society. Eke took advantage of this cultural tradition when he created raincoats.

a. Dress plays an important role in Nigerian society. To the knowing eye, the textile patterns used in dress have functions beyond dazzling the eye. They also provide information about the wearer’s tribal origin, social standing, age, and marital status. In the 20th century, some textiles carried subversive content protesting against the colonial establishment. As such, Nigerians expect to find social messages imbedded in items of clothing. Discuss how Eke took advantage of this cultural tradition when he created raincoats. Why did his design contradict traditional Nigerian dress that is shaped, colorful, and highly patterned?

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Traditional Nigerian dress

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Traditional Nigerian dress

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Traditional Nigerian dress

b. Three of the following three artists share Eke’s use of clothing as sculpture: Joseph Beuys and Tissue Culture & Art, who appear in this book, and Andrea Zittel who does not. None present clothing as a fashion statement. Instead, their clothing-as-sculptures convey specific social, economic, and/or psychological concerns. Choose an example of clothing as sculpture by one of these artists. Compare that artist’s use of clothing to Eke’s. Consider the manner in which the material, design, and fabrication of these artworks relates to the problem it either exposes or resolves.

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Joseph Beuys

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Tissue Culture & Art

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Andrea Zittel

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Andrea Zittel