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Hongera Barack Obama  (kanga)
Date: 2008
Medium: Cotton, synthetic dye
Dimensions: H x W: 108 x 150 cm (42 1/2 x 59 1/16 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Bryna Freyer
Geography: Tanzania
Object Number: 2009-2-2
Search Terms:
geometric motif
Object is not currently on exhibit

Along the eastern coast of Africa, particularly in Kenya and Tanzania, rectangular panels of brightly dyed cotton cloth, known as kanga, are worn by women as wrappers and serve a variety of household uses. Kanga typically include Swahili text that makes a political statement or a proverb that is applicable to the wearer's personal life. The Swahili text on this Tanzanian kanga honoring President Barack Obama reads, "Hongera (Congratulations) Barack Obama" and "Upendo Na Amani Ametujalia Mungu" (God has blessed us with peace and love).

Orange factory print textile featuring a central motif of a photographic portrait of Barack Obama with the words "HONGERA BARACK OBAMA" (Congratulations Barack Obama) above his head. His portrait is flanked by two maps of Africa. The Swahil text of this special kanga reads "UPENDO NA AMANI AMETUJALIA MUNGU," which translates as "God has blessed us with peace and love." A border, featuring a grid pattern and floral motifs, surrounds the central motif on all sides. The bottom selvedge reads "NIDA NZITO KHANGA PAMBA YA TANZANIA GIGA:7424." Left and right sides are machine stitched. Repeat size is 150 cm (59 1/16 in.).

Anonymous donor, purchased from Busokelo Trading Company, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2008

Inauguration 2009, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., January 17-March 2, 2009

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