Weaving in Southern Nigeria

by Lisa Aronson
Skidmore College

Akwete cloth. Igbo peoples, Nigeria. Photo by Lisa Aronson.


Akwete weavers, like their role-model Dada Nwakwata, have a particular propensity for innovation. Akwete weavers claim to know as many as 100 different patterns, the complex combinations of which make for an endless repertoire of cloth designs. For example, no two cloths bearing the ikaki pattern are alike. In stark contrast to traditional (Ijebu-derived) version just illustrated, this Akwete cloth combines an ikaki design with several other patterns in a linear grid arrangement the overall affect of which resembles a strip weave. In this example of Akwete cloth, the ikaki design is barely detectable.