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A Colorfully Bazaar Collaboration September 22, 2020

By The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Tags: mfa-shop, photographs, colorful, fabrics, museum, africa

The MFA Shop has partnered with designer Fahari Wambura of Fahari Bazaar on a vibrant collaboration: custom apparel using Kitenge and Batiki fabrics, all inspired by the exhibition Through an African Lens: Sub-Saharan Photography from the Museum’s Collection.

Known as African “wax prints,” the colorful Kitenge and Batiki fabrics are printed in Africa. The Batiki fabrics are especially notable for being hand-printed and hand-dyed by the women of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Creating Opportunities
Fahari Wambura started her Chatham, New York–based Fahari Bazaar in 2015 with the goal of creating opportunities for women back home in Tanzania. “Where I come from, the women carry a heavier load. They are responsible for nurturing the young, and caring for the old. They are tasked with keeping the family together, and making sure everyone is fed and clothed. My mother did this for our family. She was a loving, kind, and giving human being.”

Special Techniques
Fahari Bazaar clothing is designed with comfort, function, and style in mind. The Batiki fabric is created using a block-printing technique wherein the designers carve designs into foam blocks, dip the blocks in wax, and press them onto the fabrics. The areas that receive the wax printing act as a stop-out, which allows the dye to print around the carved designs and create beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Bright Inspirations
This special MFA Shop collection includes dresses, jumpsuits, pants, shorts, and masks, all handmade by highly skilled Tanzanian artisans and tailors. The pieces are inspired by some of the same bright, multihued apparel in the photographs on view in Through an African Lens, such as Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou’s Untitled, from the series Musclemen.

See the inspirations behind this colorful collection in Through an African Lens: Sub-Saharan Photography from the Museum’s Collection on view through November 8, and visit the MFA Shop to browse the handmade goods of Fahari Bazaar.