Indigo Textile Dyeing in Daboya, Ghana

The Indigo Dyeing Tradition in Daboya: Notes from the Field

Daboya is a semi-urban community in the Savanna Region of Ghana. It is well noted for its organic indigo textile dyeing and weaving tradition which dates back to over three centuries. Before the introduction of synthetic dyes, Indigo was the foundation of most textile traditions in West Africa. In Ghana, most of the traditional smock dresses and related fabrics that are worn are produced in Daboya. Below, I present an account of the indigo dyeing process as observed in Daboya in May 2022.

The migratory life of my mums 'misar'

This is my ‘misar’, a beautifully red and black tie-dyed silk scarf that was handed down from my nani, my maternal grandmother to my mum and is now kept close to me in my home. This ‘misar’ represents the bundles of fabrics that travelled with Indian migrants as they moved across the world, specifically in my case, on the ships that brought the first passenger Indians from Gujerat to the shores of Natal, South Africa.

Colonisation of Textiles, Colonisation Through Textiles: 2022

A display section at the Vlisco shop space in Helmond, The Netherlands. 

The clearly 'not-white' non-living mannequin, decked up in African cloth 'Made in Holland' is placed at the end of the factory space between the sanitizer and the toilet. Above the toilet door are photo frames carrying magazine covers and featured media showcasing Vlisco fabrics worn by living 'white' models. 

Bulamari Local Textile Dyers, Maiduguri. Borno State

Field Work to Bulamari Local Dyeing Centre, Maiduguri, Borno State.

Bulamari Dyers are the Kanuri speaking indigenes of Maiduguri, Borno State. They Specializes in the production of the Kanuri tie and dye attires, especially the Kanuri blue and black fabric known as “Dongashou”.

The findings of the survey carried out at Bulamari Dyeing Center, behind the Shehu Palace in Maiduguri, Borno State are as follows:

Torvehallerne, Quality and Dialogue

Torvehallerne are food halls which are positioned in the center of Copenhagen which sell a large variety of food. This includes fresh vegetables, cheese, fish, and freshly baked bread. The prices are high and the focus is on quality and ecology, rather than price and quantity. The shops are specialized in offering a selection of products from their respective shops. In conversation with cashiers, they explained to me that the dialogue is what sets apart Torvehallerne from regular supermarkets. This is the conversation around the products being sold.

True Blue Indigo Kit

In the process of breeding the indigo vat, we noticed a fermented smell unique to indigo, and experienced the process of indigo becoming a dye through fermentation. We also noted the color cange from green to blue in the oxidation process. We used shibori resist dye techniques for the dyeing process. We applied pressure to the cloth using boards or strings and create a resist. We thought it would be ideal to show contrast between the indigo and the white of the fabric to accentuate the beauty of the blue.

Ideas Are Bullet Proof: A Hong Kong Campus Democracy Wall

This is a photograph taken from one of the university campus's democracy wall. These are walls on most campuses in Hong Kong where students (or anyone) can post stickers and messages to support freedom of speech, academia and so on. During the past years Freedom of speech and academia has become increasingly restricted and walls like these have been dissapearing. If we return now to many of these walls they will be empty and even if they are available certain messages are no longer allowed to be written.


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