Cloth and Creativity in African-Atlantic Cultures

June 30, 2020 - 9:00am

CLOTH AND CREATIVITY IN AFRICAN-ATLANTIC CULTURES

Cardiff, UK, 30 June 2020

Invited artists and keynote speakers: Lucille Junkere (Textile artist and indigo dyer), Barbara Prézeau Stephenson (Visual artist) and Rose Sinclair (Goldsmiths/Textile artist).

Cloth has functioned as an important medium of creativity and resistance in African-Atlantic communities. From the intricately spun yarns of the trickster Anansi to the meticulously sewn suits of the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans, fabric and textiles have a long history of communicating unique and connected identities within African diasporas. During the colonial era, fabric bundles imported by plantation owners were styled and fashioned by enslaved men and women of colour who used their bodies as ‘canvasses of representation’ (Hall). For marginalised communities, cloth and clothing speaks and signifies as a visual and performative language of resistance (Buckridge). This is what Haitian scholar Michel-Rolph Trouillot referred to as ‘individual signature’ in African-Atlantic cultural contexts.

This interdisciplinary workshop will consider cloth and its myriad material forms as innovative expressions of identity, collective and ‘individual signature’, and modes of creative resistance in African-Atlantic cultures. More specifically, Cloth and Creativity in African-Atlantic Cultures aims to explore different fabrics in African-Atlantic communities: their origins, complex migrations, commercial exchanges and personal, social and ritual meanings. It seeks to question how the creative act of making garments and crafting textiles offers potential for self-crafting and community organisation in the face of continued inequalities, racial oppressions and global imperialisms. We are also interested in discussing the development of both new and traditional techniques of cloth production, dye technologies, and creative processes that embed environmental sustainability and circularity.  

This event will include a salon-style indigo workshop led by artist-researcher Lucille Junkere (https://lucillejunkere.com/) , the opening of the accompanying exhibition Cloth/Ffabrig/Twal at BayArt gallery featuring performances and new work by Lucille Junkere, Barbara Prézeau Stephenson (https://prezeau-stephenson.com/) and Rose Sinclair (https://www.gold.ac.uk/design/staff/sinclair/) , and the launch of Barbara Prézeau Stephenson’s new book Le Cercle atlantique – The Atlantic Circle.

The event is supported by the Leverhulme Trust and Cardiff University.