Wrapture: a Story of Cloth: Peju Alatise
Materials and mediums used to creat my works of art are applied with the intent to tell a visual story. Being a mixed media artist (with the tendency to flirt with as many mediums as are available to me), it is with severe discipline, strictly adhering to the choice of using a particular medium to tell the stories of this project titled “WRAPTURE: The Story Cloth”.
The medium of emphasis is cloth/fabric/textile. This is the utilization and representation of fabric/textile as an advocate/narrator of would-be wearers as women. The primary focus of textile/clothing other than cultural and ethnic identity, is the narratives of the individual female user/wearer of the clothing; narratives of intimacy, privacy, spirituality, beauty, death, violation and folklore.
The ‘cloth’ is not presented as clothing items of shirts, skirts, etc; they are presented in it’s unsewn state. A contributing factor for this is the representation of cloth in my western-Nigerian background. The cloth is called a ‘wrapper’ which is a symbol for covering all human secrets and shame. In pre-colonial Nigeria, certain wrappers were worn for specific ceremonies and certain colours worn on certain days. The motifs and symbols were drawn and printed on clothing in a language peculiar to the ethnic group.
I collect a variety of local fabrics (mostly called Ankara designed between year 1970 to date), used and new, cut them into colours symbols and motifs to recreate collages of a new visual language. Every piece of material used gives a symbolic relevance to the overall composition. The cloth is then sculpted to keep it’s memory of the wearer. This is a technique achieved by a method called fabric freezing with resins as the main ingredient. The ‘cloth’ stories are then told in visual representations and abstractions.
Some of the stories are my personal experiences and other peoples experiences observed by me. I marry Yoruba folklore with present day social satire.