The Will to Adorn

The Project

The Will to Adorn: African American
Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity

The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity is a multi-year, collaborative folk cultural research and public presentation project initiated by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Through the work and perspectives of museum, academic, and community scholars, as well as community-based cultural practitioners, including artisans and designers from across the nation, this project explores the diversity of African American identities as expressed through the cultural aesthetics and traditional arts of the body, dress, and adornment. This ongoing research is being shared through Smithsonian public programs, including the 2013 Folklife Festival program, an exhibition, as well as through publications and online materials.

Curator Diana N’Diaye moderates a panel on Health, Hair, and Heritage for the National Museum of African Art.