Vlisco specializes in Dutch wax prints, the brightly colored and elaborately patterned cotton textiles popular in West and Central Africa. Made using an industrialized version of the hand-printed, Indonesian batik process, Vlisco’s wax fabrics were initially intended for the Indonesian market but soon found favor in Africa. The vibrant and colorful prints have been adapted to local preferences through a continued collaboration between Dutch designers and African traders: The local women traders who sell the fabrics often suggest colorways or themes, and many even name the designs, making them resonate within the local culture. Traditionally sold in open-air markets by these local traders, the wax fabrics are fashioned into bespoke dresses and suits by local tailors. Contrasting or complementary designs are intended to be mix-andmatched in the creation of personalized garments. For many, Vlisco fabrics remain a symbol of West and Central African fashion and culture.

Works associated with this person or group

  • Textile (Netherlands), 2009

    Pipes and faucets. Printed in indigo and brick red on an off-white ground.

  • Textile (Netherlands), 2009

    Pipes and faucets. Printed in brown, ochre and purple on an off-white ground.

  • Textile, Change Your Life, 1956

    Wavy lines with dots. Printed in indigo and hot pink on a white ground.

  • Textile, Fly-Tox, 1999

    Hands spraying aerosol cans on a background of small dots. Printed in brown, blue and purple on an off-white ground.

  • Textile, Network, 1982

    Large circles filled with off-center concentric rings on a woodgrain background. Printed in olive green, red and hot pink on an off-white ground.

  • Textile, Sparkling Grace Collection, May 2010, 2009

    Abstract design of bulbs filled with irregular dots, terminating in spiral arabesques on a background of wavy lines. Printed in maroon, yellow and orange on an off-white ground.

  • Textile, Belle d’Afrique collection, August 2007, 2007

    Circles with radiating lines. Printed in dark brown on an off-white ground, with glaze?

  • Textile, Telephone, 2004

    Lightbulbs and electrical outlets on a speckled ground. Printed in indigo and orange on a dyed yellow ground.

  • Textile, Reflet de Lumière collection, August 2010, 2010

    Curving disks filled with concentric circles on a background of small dots. Printed in indigo and red on a white ground.

  • Textile (Netherlands), 2008

    Overall pattern of large-scale knitting. Printed in indigo and acid yellow on a white ground.