MGLBC1 – Ballet Red
Tribute to the Colour Red
MGLBC2 – Sublu
Tribute to the Movement of the Human Body
MGLBC3 – MMM
Celebration of Sensuality
MKC2 – Let’s Talk
Tribute to the Khanga Cloth
MKC3 – Eye to Eye
Celebration of Imagination
MKC5 – Get On and Grow For It
Celebration of Township
MKC6 – Shape Up For Tomorrow Skies
Tribute to the Nature of Trees
MKC4 – Precious Water
Tribute to the Essential Recourse of Water
MKC9 – Step, Sweep, Breathe
Celebration of Creativity
MKC7 – Sew a Button, Make a Friend
Tribute to Mother
MKC11 – To Sow, To Reap, To Mill
Tribute to an Essential Food, Corn.
MKC8 – Sun Dressed Up For The Moon
Tribute to Human Passion
MKC10 – Biko
Tribute to a Great Man
MKC12 – Hope Knot
Tribute to Family Heritage
MKC13 – Kente A Go Go
Celebration of Innovation
Barry Mackie was a South African born artist from South Africa. He was exiled to Britain in 1972, retraining as an art psychotherapist in 1982 and then working as a textile designer, teacher and art therapist on both sides of the equator. He lived in London, England from the late 90’s onwards, developing his great passion, the Khanga Cloth.
Barry heralded the Khanga as a versatile and unique format. He took the traditional design heritage of design, motif, message, and material and, with imagination and craftsmanship, added contemporary elements.
A brief history of the Khanga
Zanzibar is the birthplace of the Khanga Cloth where it’s seen for the first time on outbound slave ships. A black cloth, which was woven in India, was made available to the slave women to cover themselves on their journey to hell.
Amongst other artefacts, spotted handkerchiefs were exported into East Africa by the trading nations of the time. Local women sewed six together, in two rows of three to form a body cloth. Khanga, in Swahili, means Guinea Fowl, a black and white spotted bush fowl, and when the women wore their body cloths, men said they look like Khanga. The Khanga Cloth had arrived, emerging as a women’s cloth.
Colonial traders exploited this artefact; supplying cloth that was conceived, designed and printed in India and Europe. Home producers then emerged over time in Zanzibar and East, Southern and Central Africa. They met the needs of different peoples with cloth in an array of colour motifs and messages. The design format particular to the Khanga was established – their motifs (coffee bean or corn cob) becoming historic symbols of wealth and status. The classic traditional Khanga has four borders called ‘Pindo’ and a central motif called ‘Miji’.
The Khanga also has the written word incorporated within the design, making this multicultural artefact unique. Called the ‘prayer box’, Muslim Zanzibar craft folk introduced this in the form of proverbs and mottos, written first in Arabic, then Swahili and other languages. Historically this cloth was a curious and important means of exchange. It was bought by men for women, two every two months. This pair of Khanga is called the ‘Leso’. The Khanga is considered to be part of a woman’s wealth.