Beneath the Veil: Indigo in Northern Nigeria

Exhibition / Installation

Partner Programme

19 — 24 Sept 2023

Craft, Fashion & Textiles

The Crossing, Central Saint Martins

1 Granary Square



Discover the extraordinary craftsmanship, regenerative practices and the city behind the centuries old indigo dyeing traditions of Northern Nigeria

This special project in collaboration with Central Saint Martins MA Cities, Lagos based incubator 16/16, cartographers Mitsio Motu and supported by LVMH Maison/0 expands on This Is Us' 7 year work in the region. The project explores the regenerative practices of indigo growing, processing and textile production in the Northern Nigerian city of Kano and studies the supply chain in relation to its built and productive environment. Kano has an extraordinarily rich heritage in dyeing, weaving and other textile crafts and the installation showcases never-before-seen textile and the regenerative practices of the ancient indigo dyeing tradition in the region (expanding to Northern Ghana). Site research shared in the exhibition maps and documents how Kano's textile dyeing infrastructure is experienced in the city and beyond, including its hyperlocal, regional and transnational trade networks into Sub-Saharan Africa. The research will also interrogate the opportunities and limits that lie at the intersection of sustainable design, ancient craft and luxury and at the intersection of craft, community and city. With this project, This Is Us will test the limits of its hyperlocal vision by designing a luxury garment that will be made from beginning to end within; and using materials, talents and craftsmanship existing entirely within the 384 km² of the remote village of Dawakin Kudu in Kano. The garment will reveal the intricate craft behind one of the most relevant cloths in West and North Africa, normally invisible in the traditional finished textile. This Is Us was founded in 2016 with a simple mission- to show that Nigerian design can be of a really high quality that everyone in Nigeria and abroad can be proud of. We design based on the context around us, seeking always to use local materials, talents and craftsmanship to create functional design objects and clothing. This project pushes our vision one step further. The showcase will take place at the Central Saint Martins Window Galleries in the public crossing from the 19th to the 25th of September and commemorates research practices pioneering new ways to confront the climate, biodiversity and social emergencies. Visit during the festival to experience the installation or join us at the launch on Tuesday evening for a sensory experience, presentation and discussion.