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January 21st, 2012

Vlisco Exhibition – Six Yards Guaranteed Dutch Design

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Written by: Jacqueline Shaw
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As early as 1846, the Vlisco company, based in Helmond, served the West African market with Dutch Wax textiles. From 29 January through 6 May, 2012, the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem will present Six Yards Guaranteed Dutch Design, an exhibition about how Vlisco’s Dutch textiles became a part of various West African cultures and found their way into international fashion, the visual arts, and photography.

Vlisco, Guaranteed Dutch Wax. Dessin Fly Tox

The exhibition Six Yards is a tribute to Vlisco textiles: over a hundred years old, born in Indonesia, designed in the Netherlands, loved in Africa, and desired in the West. These colourful fabrics make their way to fashion shows in Paris, the markets in Ghana, and galleries in London and New York. The exhibition Six Yards focuses on all the relevant angles, from their presence and meaning in the work of artist Yinka Shonibare, to the stories in the oral tradition that have come from the fabrics.

Yinka Shonibare – Little Rich Girls from a previous exhibition

The exhibition has been put together by the Suze May Sho artists’ collective, whose work focuses on the areas where art, design, and fashion meet. Through these disciplines, the collective makes a voyage of discovery through the world of Vlisco fabrics, the designs, and their often surprising significance. The exhibition explores the history of the textiles and their stories, touches on Dutch (post-)colonial history, takes a look at the differences and similarities between Western and non-Western cultures, and sheds light on how visual artists, like Viviane Sassen and Yinka Shonibare, as well as top designers around the world have been inspired by Vlisco’s textiles — right up to the Spring/Summer 2012 collection.

Vliscofabriek in HelmondVlisco_Fashion_accessories

Artists, photographers, and fashion designers with work in the exhibition:

Yinka Shonibare, Kara Walker, Ellen Gallagher, Wangechi Mutu, Fatimah Tuggar, Viviane Sassen, Lucy Orta, Hans Eijkelboom, Seydou Keïta, Andrea Spotorno, Meschac Gaba, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Collectie Arnhem, Harvey Bouterse, Acne, Marga Weimans, Dries van Noten, PetrouMan, Querijn Maurits Ver Huell en Vlisco designers.

Seydou Keita, Untitled,1959, Gelatin silverprint, 60 x 50 cm.


A substantial exhibition journal will accompany the show, in addition to the richly illustrated book Vlisco Fabrics (in English), with text by Anja Aronowsky Cronberg, published by ArtEZ Press, and a publication about Vlisco edited by José Teunissen, part of a series of monographs about Dutch fashion designers, published by d’Jonge Hond, Modelectoraat ArtEZ and ArtEZ Press. Vlisco Fabrics and their designs have inspired top designers such as a John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier and Junya Watanabe. In the book Vlisco Fabrics its 312 pages draws heritage from the archives of Vlisco. For the duration of the exhibition the museum shop will also carry Vlisco textiles that can be purchased in lengths of six yards.

This is a must attend event and one that if we can we will definitely get to and feed back to you.

image – Lucy_Jorge_OrtaImage – Lucy_and Jorge_OrtaWest African woman with child in Vlisco clothing

For more information see link:

Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem
Utrechtseweg 87 6812 AA Arnhem,
t +31(0)26 377 53 00

Opening Hours
Tuesday – Sunday and holidays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Adults: € 9,00 / Over 65 and students: € 5,00




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