Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


May 9th, 2018

Dutch Wax in Art – a BOLD new take

Every now and then we are introduced to work that sits just outside of our remit to promote the full supply chain of Africa’s fashion and textile industry, but due to the link of this artists work with what is recognised as “African print” in light of discussions of late, featuring this artist proved quite fitting. Welcome to the work of Natasha Lisa, a London born Jewellery designer and illustrator.

Operating under the Afro Deco label, Natasha channels the stylistic influences of Art Deco design and the vibrant patterns of Dutch wax fabric in her diverse range of acrylic jewellery and artworks. Natasha studied Fine Art at Central St Martin’s and Jewellery Manufacturing at the British Academy of Jewellery formerly known as Holts Academy. She currently teaches Perspex, mixed media and resin jewellery making at the London Jewellery School.


AFG – Why do you use wax print in your art?

NL: The history of wax fabric is a complicated and interested one, I use wax print mostly in my collage work and it has a big influence on my illustration style too. It’s the stories and symbolism associated with the fabrics that interests me. By using the fabrics and the themes they represent in my work I like to think that I’m creating a new narrative to celebrated things I love, like the Art deco movement, like iconic women of the past and present whose stories inspired me. I love creating new things with images that already exist. This is the fundamental principle of collage, where artwork is made from an assemblage of different images. Wax print fabrics are so beautiful and bold, why wouldn’t I want to use them? They’re amazing!


I enjoy using wax print because of the bold colours and the stories associated with the designs.


AFG – What message do you send within your art through the use of wax print and which direction will you be going forward with?

NL: My message is more of a personal one. I make art mostly for myself with the exception of The Small Dog Appreciation Society print collection, which was created with more of a commercial approach. I enjoy using wax print because of the bold colours and the stories associated with the designs.

ayoka Teapot_framed_living

ayoka Phone 

At the moment I’m exploring pop culture and what makes me nostalgic. I started with something that all of us could relate to, cartoons! I’ve created a series of small collage prints featuring characters from Jem and the Holograms, He-man, she-ra, Thundercats and marvel characters. Characters you’ve long forgotten about. I use wax print fabric designs to create an Afrocentric narrative of these once much loved characters and I do it mostly for my own enjoyment.  It’s fun to take an image of my ultimate 80’s carton super villain Skeletor and create a new world for him.

I explore historical events and celebrate important people in history.  I created a large print last year called ‘HARLEM RENAISSANCE ALPHABET’ It’s a A to Z of the men and women who played a part in the Harlem renaissance movement.  People such as; Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Alain Leroy Locke.


AFG – Where do you see the importance of your work being featured on a platform such as Ayoka Deco and how does this website support artists in the Diaspora?

NL: It’s very important! “Black” art is trending right now platforms like this make the search for black artists that much easier and more accessible.



See Natasha Lisa’s work on




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