Cécile Fromont, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Art History and the College, University of Chicago
From their king’s decision to embrace Catholicism at the turn of the 16th century to the advent of imperial colonialism in the late 1800s, the men and women of the central African kingdom of Kongo creatively mixed, merged and redefined local and foreign visual forms, religious thought and political concepts into the novel, coherent, but also constantly evolving worldview of Kongo Christianity. Sartorial practices and regalia in particular showcased the artful conversion of the realm. In their clothing and insignia, the kingdom’s elite combined and recast foreign and local, old and new, material and emblems into heralds of Kongo Christian power, wealth and, eventually, history. This event is co-sponsored by the Comini Lecture Series, the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute Fellows Seminar Program and the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowship.
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