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Kibibi Ajanku’s work explores creative inheritance and indigo dye traditions that define the intersection of fiber arts between America and West Africa. Ajanku's artistry is layered with, and entrenched in, indigenous folkways through work that embodies research, identity, and the gathering of elements of African retention. She hopes to evoke intuitive memories that reach back into ancestral histories and stories that impact the here and the now.
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Kibibi's Mobile Dye Village
Kibibi Ajanku is a Indigo Fiber Artist who has recently collaborated with the Urban Farm Initiative and Park Heights Plantation to bring to life one of her signature projects, the Mobile Dye Village. Together, with a multi-generational team comprised of her children and grandchildren, she sets up a community dye vat at the Wednesday Farmers Market at Druid Hill Park, creating a unique experience that is both educational and interactive. Participants are invited to learn about hand-dyed Indigo techniques and have the opportunity to create their own tie and dye projects.
The Mobile Dye Village is transported on an Arabber Cart, which has deep historical significance in Baltimore City. The Mobile Dye VIllage brings Baltimore's arabber tradition to life, celebrating and preserving the vibrant culture of this 19th-century tradition. Kibibi's Arabber Cart is decorated in bright blues in honor of the colorful, eye-catching carts of the past. You may catch her riding her horse-drawn cart through the city as she makes her way to market.
Kibibi's work is inspired by the vibrant hues of her West African heritage and combines the traditional with the modern. Kibibi is passionate about creating art that celebrates African and African American culture and the art of natural dyeing.
Learn more about Kibibi Ajanku's Mobile Dye Village and discover how they are making a positive impact in Baltimore by attending an event through the months of July and August.
Rubber Glove Blues
This exhibition represents a year-long intersection of indigo projects embodied by members of House Ajanku. They are each artists in their own right. The work of each project was designed to pass ancestral and authentic practices to the next generation, and the community-at-large, in an effort to keep those practices robust and alive.
The Artists are Kibibi Ajanku, K. Salim Ajanku, Jumoke Ajanku, and K. Shukura Ajanku. The intersecting projects are Indigo Magic Dye Village for Common Ground on the Hill at McDaniel College, The Arabber Traveling Community Dye Vat for the Natural Dye Initiative, Indigo for Tomorrow Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Project for Maryland State Arts Council, Rubber Glove Blues Exhibition and Catalog Project for the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts.
This is important work. We view ourselves as portals connecting the past, present, and future, preserving West African dye traditions while pushing the processes forward to include mediums not generally used. Our influences for this project include Nigerian indigo dye traditions and Africans in the diaspora.
-K. Salim Ajanku