radha-curtainfabric-posted012208.jpg

I spent the three day weekend several hours north visiting friends in the beautiful coastal redwoods area north of Eureka California. My friend and host collected this fabric in her travels to Sierra Leone a few years ago and it now serves as kitchen curtains. All my own French lessons have escaped me but I’m told “Si Je Savais” means something like “had I only known”. The other phrase, “Se My Siso” is a mystery but is probably from a local dialect. It’s clearly a contemporary fabric (she bought it by the yard in a market) so I wonder if it’s possibly an example of anti HIV/Aids propaganda? Maybe the woman is grieving new knowledge of her own status? In graphic terms I love that the design of her skirt is also the design of the background cloth surrounding each medallion. Mostly though I’m intrigued by what the text of the fabric actually means and who it’s intended for. If it is about HIV did the manufacturers expect the cloth to be purchased and used decoratively?