African Mask

African Mask

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Out of Africa

Okay, I was not born in Africa. I was actually born in Madrid, Spain, which is not so far from Africa. There are only some 15 kilometers from the southernmost point of Spain to Africa and, besides, there still are two enclaves in Africa that belong to Spain: Ceuta and Melilla.
Now, my ancestors were born in Africa. Just because they may have left the continent 100,000 years ago does not make me less African, does it?
Truth be told, I have not lived there either. I spent one week in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1984, and one whole month in Mali, in 2001. That was it.
It was in Mali when I started buying African fabrics. At that time, I just loved them and had to have them, did not know what I was going to do with so many of them. I also learned the Bogolan technique from some artists and of course purchased some things. That trip was a life-changing experience in many senses. When I went back home, I realized something quite common in the Western style: people do not care very much about their clothes and their appearance. I mean, the importance of how we dress as a proof of respect for other people and ourselves.
I made some clothes for myself with those fabrics. People liked them, but some said they would not dare to wear those big prints and bold colors. Why?, I wonder. I guess it is because they do not want to draw any attention. Those colors and prints sure get attention.
I love fabric, all the fabric, but African fabric is always a joy for the eye, a celebration, a reminder of the harsh sun, wild storms, the sounds of balafons, koras and beaten drums.
The return to my ancestors' land.

These fabrics and more are available in my shop.

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