Futur-Velours.com is a project that wants to encourage an artistic dialogue between traditional artists in Ilebo in Kasai (DRC) and artists,designers,collectors,interested individuals and organisations.
With this site I want to give a platform and a name to the women artists who continue the rich tradition of raffia embroideries in Kasai.Their ancestors changed the art in the west but their names remained unknown.
15 Shoowa’s (velours de Kasai) were created In collaboration with the artists women in Ilebo.These works are artistic experiments that explore the medium and show what is possible on a technical and conceptual level.Drawings were made on a plain woven raffia cloth and were then send to Kasai. Some designs are largely filled in by the artists in Ilebo, others are more determined by me. Foreign elements are mixed with the Kuba formal language. The hybrid fabrics that arise are a woven and embroidered dialogue.
Textile traditions from around the world became a recurring theme in my works .The Berber rug motifs on the Basketball Carpet realised in 2000 and the motifs of an Afghan war carpet in a light sculpture realised in 2005 are just a couple examples in which textiles are depicted in my work.These works contain a cross-cultural and social dimension.Textile art is a medium par excellence where motifs migrate from continent to continent and from culture to culture.My own mixed roots and multicultural family connect to that reality.My parents were antique dealers specialising in textiles and carpets from around the world this was decisive for me.
Between 2006/2013 together with Djo Moembo we realised the Bidontopia project in Congo and Belgium We worked with artists in Congo to realise this project.This is when the idea grew to work with Kuba artisans.
Helene Loa who lives in Kinshasa DRC helped us before. She got in contact with women artists in Kasai willing to work on this project.In 2018 I sent my first sketches to Ilebo in Kasai DRC.One year later the first 3 examples arrived, they were made by Germaine Kady. I got convinced to continue this project.
I have sent a couple smartphone’s to ease communication and since then films and pictures are sent in both ways.I got the personal data of all the women artists to pay them directly without bribes and commissions.They are paid with Western Union money transfer and the “staff” gets their salary.
Helene Loa directs the project from Kinshasa and our photographer Mingambengele Patience documents the process of manufacturing the Shoowa’s in Ilebo.
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Other projects on www.brenheymans.com