Wax Print with Anne Grosfilley, Simone Post, Adaku Parker and Aiwan Obinyan
The presentations are recorded, however, due to rights reasons, the film is not included in the recording of this event.
Presentations from Anne Grosfilley, Simone Post , and Adaku Parker on their work on wax printed cloth and Aiwan Obinyan who will introduce the film screening of Wax Print.
About the filmmaker
Aiwan Obinyan is a Nigerian-British, Filmmaker and Composer, residing in London. She works in the film, theatre and music industries as a musician, audio engineer, composer and filmmaker. Her work has featured on national and international Television and Stage productions with clients including gal-dem, BBC, VICE, Young Vic Theatre, Adidas, ITV, Channel 4 and more. In 2013 she founded AiAi Studios a film and music production house, specialising in all things documentary, music and podcast production.
About the film
In African homes across the world a benign textile lies unassuming and taken for granted. With a multitude of names from ‘Dutch Wax’ to ‘Liputa' and ‘Kitenge’ to ‘Ankara’ this textile has become an important part of African cultures across the diaspora. A symbol of strength and identity in the face of oppression.
Surprised to learn from her Nigerian grandmother that ‘traditional’ African wax printed fabrics were a colonial invention made in the UK and Holland, British-born filmmaker and fashion designer, Aiwan Obinyan, sets out on a journey across four continents to trace the two-hundred year history of this iconic textile that has come to visually represent Africa and Africans.
The Industrial Revolution. Cotton is king. Mills across Europe spin and weave cotton sourced from North America. Colonialism leads to the discovery of batik in Indonesia. Dutch and English traders copy the designs and industrial innovators mechanise the process leading to the creation of Wax Prints. In the scramble for Africa, Wax prints are brought on merchant ships and sold by missionary trading companies in the bustling markets and village squares of West Africa. Local women are economically and politically empowered by this new import. Business is booming for all. But at what cost?
The late 20th century sees the influx of Chinese counterfeiters flooding the market with cheap copies, business declines and one by one the big Wax Print companies close their doors. From this decline emerges a new cottage industry, where designers reclaim the means of production in their homes, studios and local communities. But when all is said and done, is Wax Print African? And who gets to decide?
Anne Grosfilley is a French anthropologist, with an expertise in textile and fashion in Africa. She is the author of several books, including the best seller African Wax Print Textiles (Prestel, 2018), also available in French, Italian and Japanese. She won a Millennium Award in England for her initiative to showcase Africa through its textile heritage. She regularly works as an exhibition curator and consultant for luxury brands (Christian Dior, Edun).
Adaku Parker is the bestselling author of, 'Sewing with African Wax Print Fabric.' This ground breaking sewing book features 25 vibrant projects for handmade clothes and accessories. After more than 15 years as a criminal barrister, Adaku Parker launched her own business and started selling African wax print fabrics in 2018. Her business imports beautiful African wax print fabrics and she creates sewing patterns that showcase the prints at their best. She has made regular TV appearances on Channel 4’s Kirsty Allsopp’s Handmade Christmas in December 2019, The Sewing Quarter Shopping Channel and Hochanda.
Simone Post is a textile and product designer based in Rotterdam. She graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven with honours in 2015 and has won several international awards. Post’s work delves deep into colour, surface, and print, and she has collaborated with companies such as Adidas, Kvadrat, and Vlisco. For Simone the finished product is not necessarily the most interesting aspect of the design process. She has a penchant for the process itself, experimenting to discover the hidden potential of materials and techniques. This always results in surprising outcomes exceeding the boundaries of materials, craftsmen and manufactures. Her focus is on bold and unexpected usages of materials, striving to preserve crafts and promoting sustainability. Her work has been exhibited worldwide from Brasil, China, Italy, US, to Moscow, and has been acquired by multiple museums, including the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, and the Cooper Hewitt, New York.
All recordings of online talks are non-refundable.