The traditions and history of indigo dyed textiles in Sierra Leone as they relate to the art and life of Hajja Kadiatu Kamara
Catalano-Knaack, Kathryn Elvira
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Indigo dyeing or 'Gara' has a lengthy history as well as a major role in the economies and cultures of West African countries. Although most gara dyers remain anonymous outside of their communities, Hajjah Khadijatu Kamara (nee Turay) was an exception. Using a combination of anthropological, art historical, and archaeological approaches, the history and tradition of gara-dyed cotton textiles are discussed in their cultural context and as they relate to the art of Khadijatu Kamara. The importance of her traditional or apprentice style education, as well as her family life, is discussed as an important factor in her production of dyed textiles. She distinguished herself by combining traditional materials with innovative designs of her own creation, resulting in national and international recognition. Without her firm grounding in tradition, her designs would not have had the broad appeal that comes from reinventing the familiar.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- History & tradition -- "Mama Kaday" -- Her work -- Legacy -- Appendix A. Letter from Mohamed Adams -- Appendix B. Timeline