Fabric, Reinterpreted: The Textile Art of Kweli Kitwana

BY SHEILA VERTINO

 

The first thing you notice about Kweli Kitwana’s Memory Flower textile is the simple, stylized daisy pattern repeated throughout the fabric. But as the design draws you in, you realize that rather than flower petals, you are looking at seven “coffin ships” from the African Diaspora, arranged into a sunburst and detailing how human beings were stacked and transported like cargo. In the background, a ship’s log lists goods on board: gin, knives, salt, negroes.

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