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Emerging voices: the Weya applique project of Zimbabwe

Hemmings, Jessica (2004) Emerging voices: the Weya applique project of Zimbabwe In, Sharrad, P. and Collett, A. (eds.) Postcolonialism and Creativity. Bristol, UK, Telos Art Publishing pp. 97-112. (Reinventing Textiles, 3).

Record type: Book Section


In earlier research I have argued that the textile metaphor appears in the fiction of the late Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera to expose subject matter that may otherwise be silenced by social taboos or the threat of censorship. In this paper I turn to a group of textiles that literally incorporate text onto the surface of cloth. If, as I have argued elsewhere, the textile has been appropriated by the text to articulate the unspoken, what can be said of the textiles' use of text? This paper addresses postcolonial theory’s relationship to material culture through an investigation of the Weya Project, a craft based initiative established in Zimbabwe in the late 1980’s. The contemporary setting of the project shows that many of the colonial prejudices and assumptions now being uncovered and unravelled from historical textiles can also be found in textiles designed and circulating in the past twenty years. This may be due in part to the fact that Zimbabwe’s own independence was as recent as 1980, but also due to the shortfalls of numerous economic development schemes of recent years that have perpetuated a new style of cultural imperialism.

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Published date: 2004
Additional Information: “Emerging Voices: the Weya Appliqué Project of Zimbabwe” is an illustrated book chapter published in the series Reinventing Textiles Volume III: Postcolonialism and Creativity by Telos Art Publishing, Winchester, 2004. The chapter was first presented as a juried conference paper under the title “Texts on Textiles: The Weya Appliqué Project” at Fabric(ation)s of the Postcolonial Conference, held at the University of Wollongong, Australia, in December of 2002. Funding from the Rhode Island School of Design Travel Grant awards and the Pasold Textile Research Trust supported research time and conference expenses. The Reinventing Textiles series, published by Telos, is recognized internationally for its contribution to the development of critical theory within the study of textile art and design.
Keywords: textiles text


Local EPrints ID: 41050
ISBN: 1902015126
PURE UUID: a9a44f68-d67c-410f-872f-f690712c2c8a

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Date deposited: 14 Jul 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:32

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Author: Jessica Hemmings
Editor: P. Sharrad
Editor: A. Collett

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