African batiks were pioneered by the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria and the Wolof of Senegal. Eventually blending with similar mediums from Asia, batiks have become highly cherished across West Africa.
Blending traditional and contemporary techniques, designs can portray everything from marital status to political, religious beliefs and cultural stories. Prints range from abstract geometry to figurative images, and beyond. For many men and women, the patterns are a form of expression and communication.
Our collection depicts scenes from everyday traditional and contemporary life as seen through the eyes of our favourite African artisans.
Batiks were as good as gold for much of history, and were enthusiastically traded among Asian neighbors as early as the seventh century.
Dutch Scholar Ineke van Kessel suggests the fabrics came from India to West Africa by land, not sea, over the ancient trans-Saharan routes. Local populations like the Yoruba people incorporated aspects of the wax printing into their tradition textiles, and little by little the trend caught on.