Five years ago, Nigerian designer, Patience Torlowei was invited to create eight special pieces to commemorate the Smithsonian National Museum of Afri
Five years ago, Nigerian designer, Patience Torlowei was invited to create eight special pieces to commemorate the Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts, Washington DC museum’s 50th anniversary celebrations with the theme, ‘Earth Matters’.
The final piece in the special series was the ‘The Lady Esther’ Dress, a one-of-a-kind raw silk dress with a hand paint picturesque design. ‘The Lady Esther’ Dress later became the first piece of haute couture ever to join the National Museum of African Art’s permanent collection.
And since Thursday, June 20th, ‘The Lady Esther’ Dress has been on display to the public for the first time since it was donated by Patience Torolowei to the Museum’s collection as part of the #IAMExhibit, a celebration of female contemporary artists from Africa, the Museum’s first all-female exhibition.The dress, which tells the story of the way we have been taking our continent, Africa, with all its abundant wealth, for granted will be available for viewing by the general public till July 2020.
Patience Tolorwei explained when she first made the dress, that she named the dress after her late mother and the design for the dress was easily inspired, because of her early life in the rural area in Bayelsa. Commenting on the significance of the dress, she explained that the colours and characters of the dress depict the pollution and destruction of the environment occasioned by crude oil exploration, mining, blood diamonds in Liberia and other parts of Africa.
Tolorwei, who condemned these activities as having adverse effects on the environment, said she is an ambassador of change through her artistic works to help make the world a better place.