I LOVE Malian fabrics. They're bonkers. All the colors and patterns-- they're totally wild, and totally not American. (Although funnily enough, they come from the Dutch once upon a time via the Dutch East India Company that traded in wax prints from Indonesia among many other things.) When Steven and I lived in Mali I bought yards upon yards of it--even wore it head to toe like everyone there does despite my New Yorker urge to always wear black-- and when we went back last year to visit I packed an extra empty duffle bag that was completely full of only fabric when we came home.
I don't really wear all of my African outfits on the regular nowadays--surprise, surprise-- but I do get to hang out with some of my fabric in my living room every day since this year I finally made some pillows from it:
I have SO MUCH more sitting all nicely folded on shelves just dying to come out. But I think Malian fabric is something that should be sprinkled about the place, not dumped all over. It's a little, um, BOLD to say the least.
On the note of Malian fabric, I have to mention one of my favorite shows ever from The Brooklyn Museum: Nigerian artistst Yinka Shonibare's 2009 exhibit where he took colonial scenes and outfitted the manikins in African fabric. Such cool juxtaposition. Here are bunch of dudes carving up Africa:
I loved the show so much I bought the book of it from the Museum Shop which I'd never done before. Shonibare is up to some seriously cool stuff. I highly recommend checking him out. You can start at his website here.