HOW SYMBOLS SPEAK CREATIVELY TO US
Think of the textile as a communication device. What is it saying to you via the colour, fibre choice, print and then as a final layer, the script written on it?
The name "Language as Material" also arrived to us as we thought of the nomadic ways of people across the continent. How did people communicate then? We are aware that people had their trade, their families, but to communicate they also had their symbols near their bodies to communicate their values. In this tradition, it is telling that the Nsibidi script (predating the colonial period in West Africa) works in such a graphical manner so as to be understood by a broad base of people.
Think of the values it speaks of: unity, mirror, door, place. These symbols were created as a representation of the values its people held dearest. Do we hold mirrors up to each other in order to be united? Do we walk through doors in order to enter new places of the imagination?
While the lexicon we use to speak is English, think of the effect it might have on you if you were to just observe the symbols.
In this way, the act of making and creating these symbols are a language in themselves and act as vital doors into the psyche.
In a bid to decolonise languages and materials, we can use these symbols to enter new modes of thinking and behaving.
Some of the materials we've been working with in expanding our language lexicons:
leather, kombucha leather, PVC,
tracing paper, plexiglas screenprint, cotton, linen, silk, plastic, bark cloth, jute, corn husk, sponge, clay, cement, raffia, banana leaves and copper.