This photograph in the 6/15/08 edition of the New York Times magazine struck me immediately with its strong textile content. (Accompanying article is “The Man for A New Sedan”; photo caption reads “A camp for members of the Dinka tribe outside the town of Abyei, Sudan”; photographer is J. Carrier.) The seamlessness of the colors between the woman, the background (partially cropped here) and the fabric makes it look almost staged (not that it was – ) but more than that I’m curious about the fabric itself. It doesn’t look “traditionally” African to me (an extremely broad category of course) and looks like it’s been produced for sale by the yard. Who designs fabrics like this and how do they end up in African markets? Are they made in China and then imported, or are they made on the continent? I’d love to trace a fabric like this from design conception to its final customer…

On a different note, the pattern and coloration make me think of paintings by Cezanne — particularly some of his depictions of faraway landscapes and fields. I didn’t find what I had in mind online but did see this painting by the artist (also cropped) on the Metropolitan Museum website. The nearly identical color palette makes for an interesting visual comparison, not to mention the juxtaposition between the implied material poverty of the woman and the bounty of Cezanne’s still life.