Aso Ikele 1948

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Aso Ikele  •  2012

700 x 700cm

Used clothes from Manchester, printed fabric from Nigeria

Aso Ikele, meaning ‘cloth used to protect the home’ in the Yoruba language, is a textile work made for ‘We Face Forward’ exhibition and it takes the Whitworth Art Gallery’s textile collection as its starting point. The collection ranges from textiles made in Manchester for export to the West African market in the eighteenth century, to fabrics by contemporary makers in Mali who supply DKNY with hand-spun cotton.  

Combining materials and narratives from Lagos and Manchester, Udondian weaves myths and histories into her own textiles, creating her own hybrids and questioning how stories become histories by generating fictitious histories to accompany her piece.

his installation references the way laundry is dried on the streets of Venice.The laundry lines are strung with a thousand red garments,T-­shirts and other types of used clothing,which act as a clear reference to the anniversary of the Unification of Italy.The red shirt, the protagonist of the birth of the Kingdom of Italy,was nothing but a sort of blouse, a work smock worn by workers and artisans.Historical sources indicate that the shirts were handmade using cheap fabric collected by volunteers from a consortium of Uruguayan butchers.

Rather than to the creation of a Kingdom, the installation is a clear tribute to all citizens who, after 150 years, still volunteer to try to address the problems not solved by the government. Making a simple gesture, which consists in the accumulation and elevation of the red garments, the artist tries to establish a relationship between our history,our life experience and the world.