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Ruth E. Carter: Afrofuturism in Costume Design

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Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter is an expert storyteller who harnesses the power of visual communication to share narratives of culture, race, and politics.

Creating costumes for generation-defining films like Black Panther, Coming 2 America, Selma, and Do the Right Thing, she brings vibrancy, nuance, color, and texture to each of her culture-shifting characters.

"Afrofuturism in Costume Design" features unforgettable designs from nearly four decades of her career within an Afrofuturistic installation incorporating original artwork by artist Brandon Sadler, whose murals were prominently featured in Black Panther.

Carter’s costume designs enable actors to fully immerse themselves in the roles of their lifetimes, transforming Oprah Winfrey into voting rights activist Annie Lee Cooper, Denzel Washington into Malcolm X, and Chadwick Boseman into the King of Wakanda.

The Taubman Museum of Art is proud to present more than 60 costumes by Carter, as well as sketches and ephemera illustrating her in-depth historical research and design process for each project. In addition to Carter’s costumes for Winfrey, Washington, and Boseman, the exhibition also features garments worn by luminaries such as Angela Bassett, Eddie Murphy, Lupita Nyong’o, Rosie Perez, and Forest Whitaker, demonstrating the varied work Carter brings to the screen.