CINCINNATI.- Faith and fashion come together in Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats, a photography exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum. This exhibition, featuring 30 black-and-white photographs by Michael Cunningham and interviews by Craig Marberry, will be on view through June 12.
This exhibition enables visitors to experience live the best-selling book Crowns, said Dennis Kiel, associate curator of photography for the Museum. The vivid photos and text provide a meaningful and entertaining journey through African-American culture.
For this exhibition and the book, photographer Michael Cunningham worked with author Craig Marberry to explore the tradition of wearing hats to worship because it is socially, culturally and biblically correct.
Along with the photographs, the exhibition features vivid commentary on hats, drawn from interviews with hundreds of women. These interviews by Marberry explore the reasons why women wear them, why they own so many and what rules of etiquette apply to wearing them.
When the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians decreeing that a women should cover her head at worship to symbolize her obedience to God and the church, he could not have imagined the flamboyance with which African-American women would comply, said Marberry.
Crowns is truly a celebration of African-American women that provides unique insights into their traditions, said Kiel.
The Crowns exhibition coincides with the presentation of the gospel-fueled musical Crowns, which is based on the book and exhibition. Cincinnati is one of only a few select cities that will present both the exhibition and the musical simultaneously. Produced and directed by actress Regina Taylor, it runs from April 26 through May 26 at nearby Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.