fashion

Sudanese exhibit ends with African fashion display at the Auckland Museum

January 24, 2022

Members of the Sudanese community in Tamaki Makaurau held an African fashion display at the Auckland Museum on Sunday to close their 8-week-long exhibit.

The ‘Sudan: A Confluence of Cultures’ exhibit began in December and showcased Sudanese art as well as traditional clothing and artefacts.

Project manager and community liaison Rahman Bashir said the reason behind the exhibit was to showcase Sudan’s rich diversity.

One by one, models made their way down the runway, showcasing traditional clothing from the different countries in Africa.

Dr Ala Farah, one of the event organisers, said they wanted to showcase all the different beautiful colours and traditions from Africa.

We wanted to make sure we showcase our fashion, the beauty of our people, and the beautiful artistic fabric that is involved in all of our outfits as well.

“We also wanted to come together; all of us from different African nations came together in order to celebrate the closing of the exhibition.”

Farah said such events help the African community become more recognised as one of the many cultures here in New Zealand.

She said people in Aotearoa should try to get to know the African community within New Zealand and learn more about African cultures.

We want people to know who we are and what we stand for. That is the way we can integrate with the different cultures in New Zealand,” Farah said.

Auckland museum public programmes manager Jessica Underwood Varma said the Sudanese exhibit was the second community-led exhibit held at the museums te taunga community hub.

“One of the aims of the te taunga community hub is to tell some stories the museum might have underrepresented elsewhere in our permanent collections or on display or in our other programming.

“It has been really inspiring to see how the Sudanese community have made choices about what they want Tamaki Makarau and Aotearoa to know about their story.

“We have had a whole range of visitors, from people who have never heard of Sudan to visitors where this is their culture and are really excited to see it represented at the museum.”

Varma said this event symbolises a bigger shift happening in museums worldwide currently.

As museums, we have a lot of power to shape a society's perception of itself. Museums are places where the stories and the history of a society are housed in a lot of ways. That leads to questions of whose narrative is it? And who is telling the story?”

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