207pp., b/w & colour illus., hardback, d.w., New York, 2021
Introduction by Edwidge Danticat. Foreword by Jacqueline Woodson.
Features The McKinley Collection, Catherine McKinley's personal archive representing African photographies from 1870 to the present.
"McKinley expertly guides readers through a history lesson of the ways fashion in these countries is connected with colonialism, industrialization and numerous traditions and styles of dressing ... McKinley delicately reminds us that African traditions, styles, creations and the people themselves - with their many layers and differences - don’t need to come from fictional kingdoms like Zamunda or Wakanda to deserve attention. The real, everyday beauty of Africa is worth canonizing beyond the continent." New York Times Book Review
"McKinley sheds light on the erasure and resilience of African women image-makers. The African Lookbook reads like a collective photo album with critical captions accompanying a trove of rare archival, vintage, vernacular, and contemporary images. McKinley draws attention to power dynamics, consent, subversion, and identity, examining the lives of African women ‘in the pursuit of modernity and resistance to colonialism and gender violence.’ She unearths and dissects the grave imbalances that have long plagued African visual archives." Ethel-Ruth Tawe
"From young girls in Mali wearing ‘hot’ outfits beneath attire deemed respectable by Muslim culture to women defying Western Christianity by wearing traditional African attire to church, McKinley focuses on the ways in which fashion is a form of protest and resistance, preserving history in ‘more resilient and revealing’ ways than any other. The African Lookbook is an exquisite collection of African photographs and stories bearing witness to the power and grace of African women." Booklist
Curator and writer Catherine E. McKinley's books include Indigo, a journey along the ancient indigo trade routes in West Africa, and the memoir The Book of Sarahs. She has taught creative non-fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. She lives in New York City.