Meet Flo Awolaja, the creative designer behind some uniquely designed and curated African fabric art.
Hailing from North London with a Nigerian heritage, Flo has a graphic design, printmaking, textile and photography background. Flo draws on these influences to create her unusual art.
At first glance I thought Flo’s artwork was a print or a painting, which would be beautiful enough, but on closer inspection I realised that the vibrant mosaics consisted of intricately interwoven fabrics that are cut with unusual swirls and flourishes. The fabrics are then layered and interwoven into an intricate abstract design to create a mosaic style collage. I was mesmerised once I looked closer. I could see different images the more I looked at the mosiac. The original patterns on African fabrics often have a meaning or a story behind them so this eclectic way of presenting them creates a new kind of story.
I asked Flo how she came to create this type of art. She said it just came to her instinctively, having always been surrounded by her mothers vibrant collection of African fabrics. Flo is passionate about African culture and her Nigerian heritage and will only use original African wax hand printed fabrics and batiks in her art. Each artwork is therefore authentic, unique and honours the original craftsmanship. A contemporary take on a traditional craft that can complement any setting. The freehand nature of the cuts and the array of fabrics used means that no one artwork could possibly be replicated exactly.
Due to the buzz that Flo’s art has generated she was approached to contribute to an art exhibition for Black History Month in 2016. Like only Flo could do, she created 5 interpretations of the British Flag each one telling an interconnected visual story of the British Empire. The collection entitled ‘Ain’t no Jack’ tells stories of:
the appropriation of wealth from other continents and countries,
the effect and impact on the indigenous people affected by the Empire,
the emergence of a new people from the original countries and across the diaspora with multiple identities and influences, and
a people with the spirit of determination and a new sense of self after the Empire.
These impressive flags will be on display in a free exhibition entitled Making Stories Telling Tales, at Gida Collective, 55 Loughborough Road, Brixton, SW9 7TB from 29 April to 6 May 2017. Please make a note in your diary and if you live in or near London I encourage you to go and see them.
Flo also has various size fabric artworks for purchase at Gida and can do commissions with specific fabrics and colour hues. For additional information you can contact Flo directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on twitter @Maverikartz.