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New Items in The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago's Online Collections

The Alliance Community Collections is a shared digital archive that features CCA Core Members’ museum collections and virtual exhibits.

A part of CCA’s alliance, The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC) is committed to serving the educational, cultural, psychological, and socio-economic needs of Ethiopians in Chicago land and the surrounding areas. ECAC recently updated their online collections to include six new pieces of cultural and artistic significance.

Below are brief descriptions of the pieces in ECAC’s new collections. Please see their collections here for further details.

M'aza & Baby Photo:

Color photo of M'aza Dowling Brown emerging from home with her new baby for the baby's baptism and first outing into society after the traditional 40 day confinement (40 days for boys, 80 days for girls).


Ethiopian Dolls:

Three dolls in traditional Ethiopian dress with babies carried in Ankelbas on their backs. The dolls are tagged "made in Ethiopia" and made of textiles, leather, cowry shells, beads, yarn and metal.


Needlework Picture:

An untitled needlework picture of a mother in a blue dress carrying an infant in an Ankelba (baby carrier with cover).


Hanging: Mother, Baby & Gabi/Netela:

In the photo an Ethiopian mother carries her baby in a gabi or netela, which in Amharic is a cotton cloth folded for strength and wrapped around the body creating a sling to hold an infant.


Ankelba Baby Carrier:

The painted ankelba, or cover for an Ethiopian baby carrier, protects an infant on its mother’s back from sun and rain. The mother “wears” the baby under the ankelba in a body sling, a practice called “babywearing”.


Ethiopian Painting:

An unsigned and untitled mid-century oil on canvas, the painting captures Ethiopia as a country of contrasts. Ten scenes depict city life versus scenes of the countryside representing Ethiopia's traditional culture.


The text and photography is credited to the Chicago Cultural Alliance