Woman's wrapper (kanga) - ROM2010_11681_18


Woman's wrapper (kanga)

Medium:Roller-printed cotton tabby
Geography: Tanzania
Date: 2008-2009
164.6 x 108 cm
Object number: 2009.41.1
Not on view

The wrapper has the bust of Barack Obama flanked on either side by a map of Africa. Above the portrait are the words "Hongera Barack Obama," meaning "Congratulations Barack Obama." Beneath the portrait is the Kiswahili phrase "upendo na amani ametujalia mungu" which translates to "God has blessed us with Love and Peace."

Kanga printed wrappers are worn by women throughout the Swahili culture area (East Africa, Comores Islands, Madagascar) as well as in Uganda and south Arab countries. Their design is historically related to the palampore, with a center field of large motifs framed on all four edges with abstract, floral, or other motifs. They usually contain a saying printed at the bottom hem, often a proverb, sexual innuendo, or other phrase. The motifs usually commemorate local scenes and objects, imported goods, or current events and figures. In 2008 and 2009, many African countries printed commemorative cloths to celebrate the election and innauguration of Barack Obama, whose father was from Kenya, as the new American president.

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