Kawandi Quilts

I saw this over at annekata and had to "borrow" her post about these remarkable quilts made by Siddi women of India.
The Siddis of Karnataka, India are the descendants of both early African immigrants to South Asia and enslaved Africans brought to Goa in the beginning of the 16th century by the Portuguese. While they have adjusted to many aspects of Indian cultures, they have also retained some of their traditions, one of them being their vibrant patchwork, also called kawandi. Made with vintage clothing and highly individualistic, quilters share clear opinions about the beauty and quality of their quilts.

Though I've never made one, I love quilts. In fact, you could say I'm slightly obsessed. The use of color and pattern in kawandi is sophisticated and modern. I think they're gorgeous.

I can imagine what it must be to walk through a Siddi village, and see kawandi draped over fences, hung on lines, out in the sun.

Professor Henry John Drewal is a leading scholar on the art, culture, and history of the Siddi who helped establish the Siddi Women’s Quilting Cooperative. He also organized a traveling exhibition of kawandi quilts that just closed in San Francisco. Keep an eye out for it. I imagine they are even more beautiful in person.


annekata said...

Love all the images. I would love to learn making a Kawanda quilt. Or a small pillow perhaps. Like you, I've never made a quilt (it seems a daunting task), but have always loved the idea and taken inspiration from them! Have a great weekend!

rayshah said...

Yes, the images are lovely. I did not know there were African diaspora in India. Thanks for the post