Earlier this year founder of ISHKA, Michael Sklovsky, set out on a voyage to the exotic heartland of Africa. During his travels, Michael met with many African suppliers of tribal crafts and decorative homewares. This Fairtrade certified collection is now arriving into select ISHKA stores, and we are very excited to share its story below.
Much like the magnificent landscapes that sweep across Africa’s vast continent, African decor is striking to the eye with a presence of mystique. Vivid colors evocative of sunburnt lands, lush rainforests and unforgettable pink-purple sunrises combine with earthy timber textures to reflect all that is beautiful and wondrous about Africa.
Travel snaps from Michael’s adventure across Africa
From carved masks to wooden statues, voodoo fetish figures to one-off artworks, each carefully crafted piece in our new African Fairtrade collection is a reflection of tribal culture and inspires much curiosity and fascination.
Africa is an exotic land with a rich heritage comprised of over 50 countries and 1000 tribes, all with their own language and culture. Cape Town and Nairobi are vibrant trade hubs for African crafts, many of the pieces in this Fairtrade collection originate from the various tribal communities within these regions.
Michael meeting with suppliers of African crafts
A wonderful feature of this range is the vibrant beading used to adorn many of the wooden figures, with some of these known as Namji Fertility dolls. Found in the north-west of Cameroon, the Namji tribe is famous for their carved wooden dolls decorated with multi-colored beads and cowrie shells.
Traditionally, fertility dolls were designed to prepare young Namji girls for motherhood; the doll is their first responsibility and is to be cared for like a mother would her baby. Each figure is carved from hardwood and is an authentic work of art.
Most of the masks in our African range hail from West Africa. Some are marked Fang and Punu, which are two tribal groups from West Africa. The Fang people live in forest clearings in the humid rainforests and the Punu occupy the South West of Gabon. Fang masks are worn by itinerant troubadours, for hunting and punishing sorcerers. The Punu has a culture based on the cult of ancestors, a general respect for the deceased, and a fear of the spirits of the wilderness.
While masks have traditionally been used by African tribespeople as a means to intimidate their opponents and identify themselves within a tribe, over time masks have become popular pieces of art to display in homes around the world.
Whether your interior taste is modern, minimal, traditional or eclectic, African decor is an intriguing style that will add an exotic energy to your home.
Explore our Fairtrade collection of African homewares online or in selected ISHKA stores today!