These remarkable quilts are made by Siddi women of India who are part of the African diaspora. Aren’t they extraordinary? Nahtzugabe, a German blogger friend made a beautiful Kantha piece, inspired me to wander the web looking for different styles of Kantha stitching.
Scholar Henry John Drewal has been researching the arts, identities, cultures, and histories of African descendants in India and helped establish the Siddi Women’s Quilting Cooperative. He has also organized several traveling exhibitions. Visit his website to read all about his work in this interesting article.
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.
Here’s another interesting interpretation of patchwork. Lambert, who stitches everything by hand uses different colored thread to create these wonderful pillows:
Absolutely amazing isn’t it?