The Krasl Art Center is pleased to announce Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints


The Krasl Art Center is pleased to announce Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints as part of its exhibition programming during the 2018 season. This exhibit is a tribute to the century-old handmade designs and patterns on textiles that originated in Indonesia and were copied and industrialized by Europeans and exported to Africa. 

Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints traces the developmental pathway of the African wax print and tells how these fabrics reflect the stories, dreams, and personalities of the people who wear them. The success of the wax prints in Africa is driven by many factors, such as the culture, taste, and desires of African consumers. Clothing in Africa serves as 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.

The history of the African wax print is a history paved along colonial trade routes and globalization in the post-colonial era. Though not originally African, these textiles have become ingrained in African culture and society, and loved and identified as their own.

Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints will be on view at the Krasl Art Center March 23 through June 17, 2018.

The exhibition Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints is curated by Dr. Gifty Benson and organized by ExhibitsUSA/Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO.


In the artlabUndercurrents by Emily Stokes

March 23 through June 17, 2018



Iowa-based artist Emily Stokes uses painting, printmaking, drawing and digital imaging to create artworks that express the vernacular culture in which she is immersed. Embracing the beauty, generosity, humor and conflict of her community, she creates vibrantly colored and graphically compelling interlocked artworks that speak to the work ethic, politics and land values of middle America. 

Exhibition-related programming: The Krasl Art Center will offer a lecture entitled Africa is Present: Wax Prints and African Identity in Art by Elizabeth Morton, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of Art Department, Wabash College on Friday, March 23 at 5:30-6:30 pm; the lecture is free & open to the public. Limited seating.

About the lecture: Colorful clothing made from wax prints is seen so frequently throughout Sub-Saharan Africa that these vibrant fabrics have come to be associated with African identity. Realizing just how powerful wax prints are as a representation of Africa, many internationally renowned artists have explored their visual and emotional impact. This talk will look some of these artists including: Fatimah Tuggar, Sir Yinka Shonibare, Samuel Fosso, Seydou Keïta, and Kehinde Wiley.

Opening Party: Friday, March 23, at 6-8 pm; free & open to the public. 
Be the first to see bright, energetic wax print fabrics, learn the stories 
behind the prints and celebrate the opening of this new exhibition in the 
Krasl Art Center galleries.

Coffee with the Curator: Monday, March 26 at 9 am; free & open to the public. Walk through the Krasl Art Center galleries to learn more about the art on view with KAC's Deputy Director, Tami Miller.

About the Krasl Art Center:

The Krasl Art Center is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and is located in a 17,500 square foot, three-story building in downtown St. Joseph, Michigan overlooking Lake Michigan. The Krasl Art Center has three public galleries, five studios, a library/lecture room, a black and white wet darkroom, a gift shop and a permanent collection of 41 sculptures. Through its mission of bringing people and art together, the KAC offers thoughtful exhibitions, community events such as the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff and Artisan Market/Soups On, engaging classes, outreach opportunities, and cultural exploration.

The Krasl Art Center galleries are open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm with Thursday hours extended to 9 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm. Gallery admission is free; however, donations are appreciated. For more information, please visit or call 269.983.0271.

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