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Magic Squares: The Patterned Imagination of Muslim Africa in Contemporary Culture

Four contemporary artists explore the relationship of patterns, communication and spirit in conversation with textiles and symbols from the Museum’s permanent collection of Islamic African artifacts. Magic squares, known all over the world as mathematical games like Sudoku and Kenken, become carriers of powerful and diverse cultural meanings when they are painted, woven or embroidered on textiles in Muslim Africa.

Patterns of Life: Beadwork from East and South Africa

Beadwork – full of brilliant colour and pattern – is one of the most dynamic art forms in Africa. Beads are a widespread feature of adornment and have been treasured by African people throughout history. Beadwork traditions signal things such as group identity, age, marital status, social rank and spiritual state. The 2004 exhibition Patterns of Life: Beadwork from East and South Africa tells the story of these beadwork traditions.

The Blues

The mystique of the colour blue – beautiful, elusive, reflecting the sky and the sea – pervades human life and culture around the world. The Blues. examines the powerful symbolism associated with the colour blue.

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