Date(s) - July 21, 2023 - December 17, 2023
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, University Center for the Arts

Dibul Kouana: A Visual Language for Feminine Prestige

Main and the Americas Gallery, July 21 – December 17, 2023

Curated by Fiona McAliney (Class of 2021) and organized by Associate Professor of Art History Dave Riep

Among Bana-speaking communities in northern Cameroon, the visual arts are used in a variety of ways to communicate an individual’s status and to promote gender roles in society. This exhibition explores the visual complexity of beaded aprons known as dibul kouana, or pikuran, which are worn by women and used to promote social status, personal identity, and social ties.

Many thanks to alumna Julie Holding for her research and support.


A dibul kouana (woman's cache-sexe) made by an unidentified 20th century Bana Guili artist in Cameroon. Alternating bands of red, navy blue, and yellow beads mix with beaded triangles in navy and red. The bottom edge features cowrie shells.
Unidentified Bana Guili Artist, Dibul Kouana, 20th century, cotton fiber, glass beads, and cowrie shells, 10.5 x 20.5 inches. Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, CSU, anonymous gift, 2019.12.28.


A headshot of Fiona McAliney (Class of 2021), the alumna curator for Dibul Kouana: A Visual Language for Feminine Prestige.About the curator

Fiona McAliney graduated from CSU in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Art History and a minor in German. During her time as an undergraduate she studied Art History and Art Business with Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York City. After graduating she began working at the Denver Art Museum in the Visitor Operations department before transitioning to the David Cook Galleries in downtown Denver where she currently works as the registrar.




Arts of the Cameroon Grasslands

a peripheral installation accompanying Dibul Kouana: A Visual Language for Feminine Prestige, July 21 – December 17, 2023

Curated by Ella Rupp (Class of 2024) and organized Associate Professor of Art History Dave Riep

In this peripheral installation, handcrafted objects from Cameroon provide an example not just of the country’s social and environmental diversity, but of artistic variation as well. These objects originate from various cultures and are representative of a multitude of unique customs. Displaying these works together depicts the rich artistic history of the Cameroon grasslands.


Unidentified Artist in the Nsei Style, Palm wine vessel, 20th century, clay, 13.75 x 14.5 x 14.5 inches. Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, CSU, gift of Bill Simmons, 2019.11.26.


About the curator

Ella Rupp is a fourth-year student at CSU studying art history, anthropology, and museum studies. She currently works at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and is passionate about museums serving the public and creating a forward-thinking space. After graduation she hopes to continue working with museums, primarily in curation and attend graduate school.





About the faculty supervisor

David Riep received an M.A. in art history from the University of Kentucky (2005) and a Ph.D. (2011) in art history from the University of Iowa with a specialization in the arts of Africa. David’s area of research centers on South Sotho art and history in southern Africa. He spent more than five years living in South Africa between 2000 and 2011, working with several NGOs and completing his field research with support from a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Stanley Award for International Research.
Most recently, David has been involved in an ongoing multi-disciplinary project entitled Africa Meets Africa, which explores southern African cultural heritage and uses cultural context as a link to understanding the arts, mathematics, language, and history. This non-profit project produces a series of interactive learning materials for the South African public school system, including publications and DVDs, and provides educator training and support in the use of the materials.
In addition to his ongoing research, David is interested in the multidisciplinary topics of cultural formation and identity, and enjoys engaging with the concept of continuity and change in global art production. These interests have led him to produce several documentary films on the arts and cultures of southern Africa, which serve as an archive of artists, artistic processes, and culturally sensitive events, and allows one to contextualize the arts of Africa within a classroom setting. David served as an at-large member on the board of directors for the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) from 2012-2015, and was the association’s newsletter editor and liaison to the College Art Association (CAA).


Dibul Kouana: Curator Talks and Reception

Thursday, July 27, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Featuring talks by alumni curator Fiona McAliney and current art history student Ella Rupp, moderated by Associate Professor of Art History Dave Riep.

Celebrate the exhibition Dibul Kouana: A Visual Language for Feminine Prestige and the ancillary installation Arts of the Cameroon Grasslands. A reception will follow.

Free and open to all!

Free registration for Dibul Kouana: Curator Talks & Reception via Eventbrite


Support for the museum’s exhibitions and programming is generously provided by the City of Fort Collins Fort Fund, the FUNd Endowment at CSU, and Colorado Creative Industries. CCI and its activities are made possible through an annual appropriation from the Colorado General Assembly and federal funds from the National Endowment for the arts.

Fort Fund