This delicate St. Frank piece is created in the Bamako workshop of Aboubakar Fofana. As a calligrapher, artist, and textile designer, Fofana studied in Japan and France, as well as Mali. These trades and diverse cultures strongly influence his work. Fofana is driven by a passion to preserve and revitalize West Africa’s nearly lost tradition of natural indigo dyeing. To do this, Fofana studied with the finest living indigo dye masters while developing his craft. The artist also grows organic cotton and indigo to make his own dyes, systematically training local craftsmen and farmers in these sustainable practices.
Through a careful process, indigo can produce a vast palette of blue hues; traditional dyers would ask their customers’ color preference from the palest sky to the deepest midnight. Dye vats alone take a full week to prepare and require daily stirring. The un-dyed cloth is pinched, sewn, and tied according to precise patterns. Once dye is applied to the material, the ties are removed, revealing patterns of lines, shells, dots, or tracery.
In ancient times, from opulent Egypt to stark West Africa, fabric has been dyed a mysterious, beautiful blue. This indigo, or “gold blue,” is a sign of prestige and a symbol of the passage from the world of the living to that of the dead – the link between heaven and earth. The intrinsic significance of the medium of vegetable dye reinforces the underlying theme of the changing nature of matter.
The dyed textile is carefully applied to a flax linen substrate, which provides a border between the textile and frame. This piece is offered in our lucite frame. Our signature gold St. Frank plate is featured in the bottom right-hand corner of each piece. Framed dimensions are 40.5" W x 30.5" H.
Please note that as unique, handmade art, no two pieces are ever exactly the same and color varies across monitors. Our website photos are a close representation of this work, but may not be identical to the piece you receive.