SAN FRANCISCO, CA.-
Stunning, colorful, patchwork quilts known as kawandi and made only by craftswomen living in the little known Siddi communities of Africans in India are on display at the Museum of the African Diaspora
(MoAD) as part of its exploration of how traditional practices are adapted over decades throughout the African Diaspora. The exhibition presents over 30 quilts of a variety of styles and techniques and also the compelling story of the Siddis, descendants of East African slaves, sailors and merchants who currently live in the highlands of the Karantaka and Goa regions on the western coast of the Indian subcontinent.
Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India opened at the Museum of African Diaspora Friday, July 15, 2011. The traveling exhibition consisting of 32 quilts will be on view until September 18, 2011.
Soulful Stitching is co-curated by Dr. Henry J. Drewal, Evjue-Bascom Professor of African and African Diaspora Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and by Dr. Sarah K. Khan, Director of the Tasting Cultures Foundation. The quilts in the exhibition were made by members of the nonprofit Siddi Womens Quilting Cooperative, which is keeping this tradition vibrant.
Its fascinating to note that while they have adopted some cultural aspects of Indian society, for decades the Siddis have also retained, transformed and passed on from generation to generation certain distinct cultural and artistic traditions from Africa, said Grace C. Stanislaus, MoAD's Executive Director.