100 days of Tee Batik
I’ve been taking part in The 100 Day Project this year.
The project is themed to encourage everyday art practice for 100 days on a theme of your choice.
I’ve been following and enjoying the social media hashtag for a few years without taking part but, with the project launch coinciding with the the (UK) lockdown, I dusted off my pencils, felt tips and water colours to join in!
My Theme: 100 Days of Tee Batik
I’ve been fascinated with the colours and shapes featured in African wax fabrics for as long as I can remember, so choose this as my theme for daily inspiration.
Dutch wax is unique in the sense that each design is created (originally in the Netherlands but now across the world), imported, and then bought to more vivid life by African traders and consumers.
The designs are given compelling names, meanings and background stories. The fabric when worn, becomes a clear message or confirmation of status to those who view the wearer.
The Congres motif is popular in Ivory Coast and worn yearly during the meeting of the Lome Houngni women, in Togo.
Head of the Family
The geometric shapes in this fabric resemble a person embracing others. The story goes that it stands for the head of family embracing a baby in the arm, with siblings at the feet.
The Nkruma Pencil was named after Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, known for making strong comments and speeches. His pencil, used to write speeches, sign deportation orders as a method of control was considered sharp, mightier than the sword and a weapon to his political opponents.
One motif with many meanings including change, prosperity and freedom.
In Ghana; ‘..rich today, poor tomorrow’, the transience of riches. In Togo; ‘Air Afrique’. The fabric was used in the uniform of a local airline company. In the Ebo region of Angola it is called Eneke, for ‘… if the hunters learn to shoot without missing, they have learned to fly without perching.’
At the time of writing, I’m on day 70 of the project and have already fallen in love with the pieces inspired by the Nkruma Pencil and the Head of the Family motifs.
What are your favourite Dutch wax designs?