To embed this, cut and paste the following html into your web page:
Original drawing. My entry in the Spoonflower African inspired contest.
One thing about the contests on Spoonflower, I always learn something knew. For instance, many of the designs known as African designs originally began as Indonesian designs.
According to Yinka Shonibare, a Nigerian artist, African prints have a "crossbred" culture all their own. Nineteenth century colonization by the Dutch in the West Indies (now Indonesia) brought the designs to West Africa. How? The Dutch "enlisted" West African men to enhance their army in the West Indies. When the men came back home, they brought with them a new technique for fabric design: batik.
My design "You fly, I fly" is my own interpretation of an African design which is said to be worn by newlywed wives as a subtle warning to their husbands. I could not find what this design actually looked like but a birdcage and a bird were mentioned so I ran with that information.
The rust color is a nod to Mali mudcloth, the indigo featured in this design is a recognition of the Tuareg, also known as the "purple nomads" because of their use of indigo fabric. The act of dying the cloth indigo leaves the skin blue.
So, thank you, Spoonflower, I learned a lot while researching this topic.
The article that has the information about the Indonesian origins of African design can be found at http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/design/2012/03/african_fabric_where_do_tribal_prints_really_come_from_.html