Symbolic Designs of Textile Art in African Fabrics

Oladoyin J. Labode,

Olasunmbo O. Braide


This paper examines the symbolic designs of expressive creativity on African fabrics in textile art. It highlights the variations on the theme, symbolic design, colour, and techniques used for the production of African fabrics. Data for the study rely on primary and secondary sources. The primary data were obtained from in-depth interview, samples of African fabrics drawn from exhibition catalogues as well as unstructured interview schedules with primary artists producing some of the textiles in Africa and users wearing clothes drawn from the African people in Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania. The illustration of the variations in symbols found in African textile, derived from exhibition catalogues, were used to express the cultural contextual meaning of design patterns on African fabrics. Cultural nationalism and identity dominate the printed geometric forms of flora and fauna as well as other patterns of symbolic designs found on the fabrics. The symbolic designs and variations in theme, colour and patterns on African textile represent rare artistic creativity and expression in the current development of textile art in Africa.

Keywords: African fabrics, symbolism, visual art, Yoruba culture

Słowa kluczowe: tkaniny afrykańskie, symbolika, sztuki wizualne, kultura Jorubów

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