CELEBRATING CULTURE: ADELE DEJAK’S TIV ROOTS

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Adele Dejak, by way of her mother, belongs to the Tiv nation of Benue State, Nigeria. Scattered through Nigeria and Cameroon, few members of the Tiv community remain but most impressively, they have managed to uphold their customs and traditions in the face of sweeping modernism.

                                                 

Nothing was documented of the culture-rich Tiv people until the 1900s. Their traditions are on display in weddings, dance, music, and food. The Tiv believe that these elements heal the soul. Some of the music instruments used include Indyer, Gbande, Akya, Kakaki, IIuyu, and Adiguve. Dances like Kwagh-hir are performed on special occasions while the those like the Girinya are ritualistic.

                                               

As a designer and a visual person, Adele is most intrigued by their traditional fabrics, whose patterns, colors and texture are breathtaking and rare. Since ancient times, the Tiv people have favored their traditional attire to other forms of dressing. These are made using fabrics like Chado, Gbagir, Godo, Deremen, Lishi, and A’nger.

                                           

The A’nger is the most re-known fabric of all. The fabric pattern is believed to have originated from Kwande extraction before it spread to the Tiv land. It takes a day for a person to weave, dye, and package the fabric for sale. It constitutes monochrome stripes woven together to create a beautiful zebra-coat-like design. These monochromatic stripes represent the binary nature of life of life: According to the Tiv, things are either Right or Left, either light or dark.

A’nger is used for traditional ceremonies or to beautify a bride on her wedding day. The women are clad with the wrapper, blouse, and headgear to match. The men dress in elegant wrappers tied across the shoulders and paired with trousers and a cap to fit.

Read more about how her roots and her appreciation for geometry have inspired the renovation of her studio and showroom: http://www.adeledejak.com/devnew/adele-dejak-showroom-new-year-new-look/
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