Sunday, 9 August 2009

Adire African Textiles

Adire African Textiles is a small London based gallery dedicated solely to exploring the vintage textile traditions of sub-Saharan Africa. We work with a network of partners throughout West Africa to source exceptional museum quality textiles for clients that include leading museums worldwide, private collectors, and interior designers. A selection of these textiles can be viewed online at our site as well as at our space in Alfies Antique Market, Marylebone, London (for location details and opening hours see here
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Although weaving and dyeing continue to flourish in many parts of West Africa many old styles have changed beyond recognition or died out altogether. As time passes and memories fade knowledge of these past glories is increasingly preserved in museums and private collections, as well as captured in vintage photographs and archival documents. Recognition of the achievements of African textile artists has grown since the 1960s leading to a growing body of scholarship, research, publications, and exhibitions devoted both to the traditions of the past and to textile production, dress styles and fashion in Africa today. This blog will review new publications, and where possible new exhibitions. I will also be looking at online resources, in particular at important museum collections of African textiles that are increasingly accessible on the net. I will consider what can be learned from vintage images of textile production and use, such as the wonderful postcard from Senegal, dated circa 1910, accompanying this post. It shows a Wolof lady wearing two indigo cloths with incredibly intricate embroidered resist patterns typical of urban Senegalese ceremonial dress in the early decades of the C20th - I will return to these elusive and fascinating cloths in a future post. Occasionally I will highlight significant new acquisitions in our gallery or specific groups of our textiles.

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