Showing posts with label African Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label African Culture. Show all posts

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Africa Adorned!

Wow! How exotic!



When we are clothed in a certain way, we have high expectations.  That is to be accepted or treated in a manner that we desire and our clothing has the power to achieve that  before we  speak.   


So I re-visit my library for some inspiration. I love going back to history books that I have collected over the years and  search for a spark of ideas.  I found "Africa Adorned" by Angela Fisher.  It is such a useful book for  any artist to have in their library collection. Well it motivates me a lot.  Not only for inspiration but gives one a wealth of positive insight of what Africa is all about.  From Northern Africa all the way down to South.  It is fantastic!



The author wrote about her fascination with Africa during her first visit to Southern Africa in early 70's. Of course, she did not stop there but travelled to my country Tanzania- in East Africa- where she encountered the famous African tribe- the Maasai warriors. 
Her curiosity made her travel deeper into the heart of Africa all the way to up North; she claimed it was like stepping into a complete different planet. Mhh!   She encountered more diverse tribes, life styles and culture with distinguished and striking customs (in terms of) outstanding tribal costumes, remarkable hair forms, body paintings, and all sorts of decorations that she had never seen before.



"I began to discover that all these exotic fashion - in jewellery, body art, even clothing - were not merely adopted for beauty.  Each Item was of individual significance and proffered a wealth of information about the wear"







Yes! In general we are what we wear and  body language has become a media of expression in its own right.  We call it 'The Language of Clothes' as in a book by: Alison Lurie.

We often identify or send messages by what and how we wear; this is exactly what Angela Fisher encountered so evidently and powerfully may I say, in Africa. 

In my earlier post about Khanga, a native Swahili garment in Tanzania, I referred this as being the cloth that speaks a culture of silence. 


 The language of dress is an automatic one since history of mankind.  Before the so called 'Fashion' or civilisations, people were geographically identified through communication of their traditional costumes, hair styles, body adornment and  body painting.



I have selected other stunning,breathtaking and extremely stylish images from Africa taken by photographer Ken Hanmann and what have I got to say about these images.

Source: 

Grace


Love, Security & Family


Sheer Elegance, Style & Pride


Youth, Beauty,& Pride

oozing with style & poise

Confidence

Innocence & Purity


Purity



Pride & Identity









.........and then there is of course what we call the 'High End Fashion Adorned'! 
Christian Dior, Fall 1999, photos by Annie Leibovitz



Fashion throughout the decades has demonstrated to be an influential force in the establishment and expression of both cultural and personal identity.




Source
Africa Adorned: Angela Fisher
Photos courtesy of :  Ken Hanmann 













Friday, 23 December 2011

MORE ON KHANGA



INTRODUCING THE BABY SLING


Me & my son in Khanga wear

If you will recall  my earlier post regarding my native cloth called Khanga. This was an unfinished topic as I have more to talk about the many uses of this cloth which brings me to my second topic :  "The Baby Sling".
For a baby sling, one can use any rectangular piece of cloth; mainly cotton which also depends on the climate of the native location, geographically. In East Africa, khanga or kitenge ( a much heavier cotton cloth) is used to carry babies/toddlers on the back.
The following site refers to several types of clothing used for baby slings around the world
http://awareparenting.blogspot.com/2006/12/baby-carriers-cultural-history.html

Historically, for an African woman to leave their young in someone else's care was unheard of  especially if it involved the mother being away from home for too long.  Naturally,  a baby is  brought into this world as no one else's responsibility, but, the mother's. However, if the mother is at home and has relatives around her, i.e. grandmothers, sisters, aunties and any other siblings, then yes; help is always at hand.

It is natural for a mother to bond with her child. Yet  in Africa and other parts of the world it is the matter of convenience to have a baby on your back. It is assuring for both mother and child and therefore,  peaceful. For those  around you this means the baby feels extremely secure and has the comfort of the mother  especially during feeding time.


Happy and Content!


Feeding time is a  big deal in any mother's mind; it is like a second heartbeat. So then the mother has much to consider i.e. whether it is okay to leave her little one with another person, whether she would be back in time to feed, let alone trusting the person who would take care of the baby. The answer will be 'what if' and that's where the khanga sling comes to action. Mind you, babies love this so much. The only time you will hear their voices is during feeding time. This intimacy between mother and child, ( I so definitely believe) has its physiological benefits for both individuals.

Not a care in the world!

We all know how hard it is to get attention from any child during combing, in this case braiding hair. The image below proves that the mother has succeeded  by having the baby secured around her body and feeding at the same time....... easy whizzy!!!


Manipulated!



Tribal woman in Central Tanzania


Beautiful Himba Mother and Child from northern Namibia 
(child not happy of an intruder ...go away, stop following us.....)



Ashanika girl from central Peruvian Amazon carrying her sibling



Korean Mothers doing laundry



Modern Sling -The Inspirational Story











Anna Luks
Web:annaluks.com
Twitter:@AnnaLukindo