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ZOOM IN PRINT 

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VLISCO, VLISCO

What is the relation between the Netherlands, Africa, 
Indonesia and China in relation to African fabric?


The African print speaks to us as authentic,tradition, folklore and ‘Africanity’, something made even more prominent by the fact that these fabrics, which in the past could only be acquired in Africa, can today be purchased in both the African diaspora and at international markets as a symbol of Africanity. Pieter van Vlissingen started a company called Vlisco in Helmond. While Vlisco is known for African fabrics,it is still made in the Netherlands, as well as the quality and the fashion ability.

In both cases you can see that the consumption of cultures on the global market is what influences our judgement and that it is cultural difference that lies behind our attraction. It is a story about globalisation and colonial trade routes on African representation and the European escape. Vlisco Hollandaise became a place holder for Africa in a complicated, post-colonial way. The colonial position of the Netherlands is back in Africa but then in the selling of African fabrics. China comes in, China takes over the position of Vlisco by copying Vlisco fabrics,copying their logo, using machine that produce faster, having more employees to make all these fabrics.

 

VLISCO, VLISCO

What is the relation between the Netherlands, Africa, 
Indonesia and China in relation to African fabric?


The African print speaks to us as authentic,tradition, folklore and ‘Africanity’, something made even more prominent by the fact that these fabrics, which in the past could only be acquired in Africa, can today be purchased in both the African diaspora and at international markets as a symbol of Africanity. Pieter van Vlissingen started a company called Vlisco in Helmond. While Vlisco is known for African fabrics,it is still made in the Netherlands, as well as the quality and the fashion ability.

In both cases you can see that the consumption of cultures on the global market is what influences our judgement and that it is cultural difference that lies behind our attraction. It is a story about globalisation and colonial trade routes on African representation and the European escape. Vlisco Hollandaise became a place holder for Africa in a complicated, post-colonial way. The colonial position of the Netherlands is back in Africa but then in the selling of African fabrics. China comes in, China takes over the position of Vlisco by copying Vlisco fabrics,copying their logo, using machine that produce faster, having more employees to make all these fabrics.

 

Every fabric I made represents a country: Netherlands, Africa, China and Indonesia. The symbols on the fabric tell the history of the countries and also the history of vlisco. Every country has his own handsymbol : China two hands who give each other an high 5, because the Chinese reproduction of the Vlisco fabrics is way faster then the Vlisco itself. What happen is that Vliscofabrics are sold out, but for Vlisco making new fabrics takes way longer then the Chinese reproducing of it. Even loyal buyers of Vlisco will buy cheap Chinese imitations. . Herefore Vlisco had to fire people because of this Chines fastness.

The relation between these three continents (Europe, Indonesia, China and Africa) comes together in the Vlisco textile: fabrics that are designed in the Netherlands and produced through a traditional Indonesian technique and will eventually be sold to African consumers. Back in the day, all the fabrics were made by hand that was the technique that the Indonesian people had. In Africa there would be traded slaves, Indonesia had products like pepper, nutmeg and fabrics. It was then that the Dutch discovered the Indonesian Batik technique that would be taken back to the Netherlands. The technique that Dutch took back to the Netherlands would be the beginning of a new trade route, but can also be interpreted as the start of a Dutch company that was taking over an African authenticicon.

Poster, Vlisco textiles, silkscreen, 2 layers

EXHIBITION

Cafe Vrijdag,
Vlisco, Vlisco

(jan 2016)

EXHIBITION

Cafe Vrijdag, 
Vlisco, Vlisco 
(jan 2016)