Weaving in Southern Nigeria

by Lisa Aronson
Skidmore College

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

 

On a linear grid, the weaver interspersed compressed versions of the ikaki design together with patterns bearing other names. Although it is woven in one wide panel, its overall effect is that of a men's strip weave. In essence, the Akwete weaver has combined Ijebu-inspired designs with other West African ones to create a pattern that is now purely Akwete in character. Ikaki is not the name Akwete weavers give to this particular cloth. Instead, they name it, or any such cloths combining a myriad of patterns Dada Nwakwata. In naming it as such, the trend towards creativity and innovation, and the very weaver who introduced it, lives on forever in the Akwete Igbo area of Nigeria.