THE ART OF THE KANGA, an AFRICAN TEXTILE, SARI SIZED

kanga from Africa               blue kanga

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WHEN IN AFRICA, BUY  KANGAS -- This is an East African dress tradition thousands of years old, big enough to wrap an adult woman in.  Buy a few dozen, minimum. You will use the fabric for aprons, pillows, sports shirts.


kanga as a pillow

You will enjoy your KANGA shopping tour and will want to visit the CORAL HOUSES OF the ISLAND of ZANZIBAR (peaceful place in their language.) On mainland TANZANIA, you will want to buy kangas and textiles. For thousands of years the trader sailors of the world, Arabs, Chinese, parked on the East Side of Africa so these people are sharp traders. Usually traders stopped at Zanzibar, a beautiful beachy island entirely built of coral, off the SWAHILI coast of Tanzania, (Swahili is an Arab word meaning COASTAL). All the houses are built of coral. There is no other building material. Zanzibar, a HUNDRED MILE LONG island off the shore of Tanzania. The beauty and wealth of Africa is exemplified in this country. Dar es Salaam (ancient capital of country) was  its most popular port, dating back to ancient times, 600 BC when the Phoenicians were sailing around this area. The easy living, the diving, beaches, and the artisanry and trade make it a spot to visit now. Study the map of East Africa

http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/tanzania.htm

When you get there, you want to hit the native marketplace and find your KANGAS, in their simple form. A rectangle of fabric. Like the HINDU SARI, THE KANGA is just a square of cotton to wrap around the body, worn in AFRICA. They are not costly until you make them into a garment, which the africans also do but it's especially a bargain when you just buy the fabric alone. The cotton is so beautiful and well printed that you could cut it into many blazers, vests and trim blouses with the extra pieces.  Once I visited with Richard Tyler, Madonna's famous NY/LA designer. He saw the shocking colors and wild patterns of Guatemalan fabrics I'd brought him. Tyler wanted all he could buy for blazers. I think this some of these prints might work that way. Others would make great tablecloths, upholstery fabric. Depends on the size of the design. I do not think that the AFRICAN DRESSES would work in the USA. They seem to me to turn any woman into an instant hippie. You decide.


When you're not haggling over kanga prices, You will want to see the sights of Tanzania and Zanzibar. Take a look at the Women's agri-communes on Zanzibar beaches. They farm agar seaweed by wading out into the lagoons. Agar is not the SEA WEED they eat in Japan in stews. It is a thickener for world wide food use. Four thousand tons are exported a year, to thicken cosmetics, ice cream.

You might hire a student of the famed, Arkansas artist, the elegant Aida Ayers, (born Alice,) who lives partime in Zanzibar and partime on the Tanzania mainland where she teaches art to young people. Creating new artists is a great idea for anyone with art skills. Create legions of new artists and then help them sell their product in First world countries.

Read about AIDA in her own words, http://www.creativesolutionszanzibar.co.tz/
She and her partner run a school for artisans. Her friend runs ART TOURS the BRENDA SAFARIS   

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THE "TINGA TINGA "

These are Native paintings on cotton from TANZANIA, extraordinary pieces, see them here:they are primarily made in Tanzania and Zanzibar and imported to Kenya

http://www.insideafricanart.com/Artists%20Main%20Pages/Tingatinga-main.htm

These would be purchased by the dozen, mounted on stiffer cotton, with a border of color around them and used as pillows. They could also be framed for the walls, under glass so it wouldn't need frequent unmounting and  cleaning

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STATUES MASKS AND OTHER OBJECTS OF AFRICAN ART

This is a fabulous communal online art gallery specializing in African objects.

anita sands hernandez
                      hollywood astrologer, blogger, mother of 4,
                      grandmother of 6, says let's do something about
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