Kro-Hi-Kro-Hi-Kro-Kro-Kro and Exhibit Opening

6:00 PM

Kro-Hi-Kro-Hi-Kro-Kro-KroThe Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History proudly presents Dr. David Afriyie Donkor, in Kro-Hi-Kro-Hi-Kro-Kro-Kro: A Poetic-Folkloric Celebration of Kente on Tuesday, April 12th, at 6 pm.   His performance celebrates the opening of the National Endowment for the Humanities exhibit: Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity, is free to the general  public, and will be followed by a reception.  The exhibit will be on display at the Museum from April 12 – August 11, 2011.  This beautiful exhibition explores the art of making kente cloth, its symbolism in the cultures of Africa, and its expression of identity in African American communities.

Dr. Donkor, an assistant professor in Performance and Africana Studies at Texas A&M University, studied at the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Minnesota State University at Mankato, and then as a Gwendolyn Carter Doctoral Fellow at Northwestern University, Illinois. His research areas straddle Africana Theatre, Performance, Popular Culture and Folklore.

He has adapted and directed folktales, personal narratives and literature for the stage in productions such as, "Spiders and Spirits: Tale of Two Tricksters" (in collaboration with UC Riverside Dance Scholar/Performer Priya Srinivasan); "Two Takes on Hurricane Katrina"; "Strange and Bitter Fruit" a memorial to victims of the 1906 Springfield Missouri lynching; and his own one-person show, "A Travelers Tale" on migration and memory.  He has worked as an actor/director with the resident theater company of the University of Ghana and with Penumbra Theater Company in Saint Paul Minnesota. Dr. Donkor  is also a recipient of the Entertainment Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana (ECRAG) Talent award for his acting role in the film" Shoeshine Boy" and for writing the theme song of the same film.

Wrapped in Pride cloth
Visitors to Wrapped in Pride will begin by exploring kente weaving traditions and seeing extraordinary examples of historic and contemporary kente—including some specifically set out for visitors to touch—and numerous objects incorporating its patterns. The exhibition also considers how kente of the Asante and Ewe cultures came to be used throughout Africa as garment and ceremonial cloth.

The brightly colored, geometrically patterned cloth called kente, made by the Asante (uh SAHN tee) peoples of Ghana and the Ewe (AY vay) peoples of Ghana and Togo, is the best known of all African textiles. In African American communities across the United States, kente is much more than mere cloth: it is a symbol of African pride and a powerful cultural icon.  Kente has its origins in the former Gold Coast of West Africa as festive dress for special occasions—traditionally worn by men as a kind of toga and by women as upper and lower wrappers. Over the past forty years, as kente’s popularity has blossomed, the cloth has been used in hats, ties, bags, shoes, jewelry, and many other accessories worn on both sides of the Atlantic.

Photographs and video depicting the use of kente in contexts ranging from religious to commercial tell how this traditional art form was transmitted across an ocean, and how it changed as it was embraced around the world as an expression of African cultural identity and pride, worn by the likes of W. E. B. Du Bois, Muhammad Ali, Spike Lee, and Nelson Mandela, among others.

Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity was made possible in part through Hotel Tax Revenue funded from the City of College Station through the Arts Council of Brazos Valley, through underwriting provided by the William Knox Holt Foundation and by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities This version of the exhibition was developed by the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, California, based on an earlier exhibition co-organized with the Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey.