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Spirits in a Bottle

<cal1>Thursday/Aug. 27

<cal2>Washington, D.C., area artist Barbara Hardaway decorated a hundred Arizona Tea bottles for "Spirits in a Bottle: Decorative Expressions of an Ancient African Tradition," an exhibition opening at the Alexandria Black History Museum on Thursday, Aug. 27.

This whimsical show pays homage to the 9th- and 10th-century Congolese tradition of adorning the ends of tree branches with colorful bottles that would catch the sunlight. Barbara Hardaway has updated this ritual by festooning her bottles with feathers, fabric, beads, netting, ribbons and seashells, bestowing each with character and panache. In addition, she has designed bottles featuring Ella Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, Marian Anderson, Sojourner Truth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other luminaries.

A free opening reception will be held on Aug. 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations are requested and can be made by calling 703-838-4356. The exhibition will be open through Saturday, Oct. 3, and suggested admission is $2.

The Alexandria Black History Museum is located at 902 Wythe Street in the Parker-Gray Historic District. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.alexblackhistory.org or call 703-838-4356.