Kuba textile project shines a spotlight on the ‘kings and queens’ of Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program

When the Covid-19 pandemic pushed The Mint Museum to temporarily close its doors in spring of 2020, the Mint’s Learning & Engagement team turned hands-on art classes into virtual Create-at-Home art kits that included art supplies and instructions, as well as information that ties the art project back to works of art in The Mint Museum’s collection. One of the first kits created was how to make a Kuba-style T-shirt based on Kuba textiles in the Mint’s collection.

Children in the Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program used the Kuba-style T-shirt kits to create T-shirts that showcase their individual styles and artistic talents. Alexandra Brown, a 10th-grade honor student at Myers Park High School, and teen leader at the Mint, created the video above that captures what the Grier Heights students created using the Kuba-style T-shirt kits.

Kuba Textiles

The Kuba people are part of approximately 16 Bantu speaking groups living in the southeastern Congo in central Africa. Kuba textiles are handwoven using strands from raffia palm trees with earth-tone designs created using vegetable dyes. Kuba cloth is known for its complex, bold geometric designs that have been carried through generations for ceremonial purposes.

Want to make your own Kuba-style T-shirt? Download the instructions here.