AYO AMON DEMI supported by MISSIBABA
SOUTH AFRICA | 2010


SECTION OF DRESS: Kayamandi

A vibrant depiction of daily life.

Ayo Amon Demi created a bold and engaging scene depicting elements of her experience living in the Kayamandi Township - a suburb of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape province of South Africa. (Kayamandi means "nice home" in the Xhosa language, from khaya meaning "home" and mnandi meaning "nice").

The embroidery includes a farmer with bison ploughing a field, a woman pounding yams, a guitar, broom, colourful women in traditional clothing and a mother with baby on her back looking after her children.

Ayo worked for Missibaba, a beautiful textile label creating bags, accessories and art. Led by artist Chloe Townsend and dedicated to empowering women, every single Missibaba item is handmade by a skilled artisan in their small studio overlooking Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

I was sad to learn from Chloe that Ayo has now sadly passed away of old age. Her panel lives on, and remains a much loved and admired part of the Red Dress.



To see examples of Missibaba products, see the website: https://missibaba.com/


OUR SUPPORTERS

A huge thank you to all who have given their time, energy, enthusiasm, advice, experience and financial support to the Red Dress project over the years.

In addition to the institutions below, funding has been gratefully received from a number of private donations and 344 individuals around the world via a Crowdfunded campaign in 2020.

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The Red Dress in its final incarnation, a magnificent, regal robe, symbolises the empowerment of women through the creation of something beautiful, something which began with bowed heads and tired fingers but also with faith and joy, an openness and willingness to be a part of something which they could not see at that time but in which they could believe had meaning and worth connecting with other women around the world
Lady Alison Myners, Chair of the Royal Academy Trust 2020
The Red Dress is in some respects similar to Mail Art, the populist artistic movement centred on sending small scale works through the postal service. It initially developed out of the Fluxus movement in the 1950s and 60s – but on a larger scale – the journey of the work is part of its identity, process, and in fact function. A signifier of the temporal and physical nature of the process inherent in the creation of the piece. The surface of the dress layered with embroidery slowly transforming into a specific topographical map – completely particular to the work’s journey – and reflective of the burgeoning sculptural landscape of the object
Paul Black, Artlyst 2015
It’s her (Kirstie’s) red silk Dupion bodice and voluminous skirt created for the Red Dress that fully demonstrates her commitment to embroidery and the immense respect for the international community of makers
Denna Jones. Embroidery Magazine 2010
I can't remember when they embroidered that piece of silk (2018?) but I feel that something has changed since. The fact that they could embroider what they wanted and that it is appreciated has given them some strength, some confidence that I didn’t feel so strongly before. Last year, I sent them a drawing and asked them to “interpretate" it the way they wanted; again it came back with a lot of emotions, another beautiful story. Thank you for giving them this opportunity
Nicole Esselan, Founder of Kisany Africa (supporting artisans in DR CONGO and RWANDA)
This is both an extraordinary work of collective art and profound and eloquent social commentary. It is also an example of how potent the Attire language is capable of becoming
Attires Mind (Fashion Blogger) 2020
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