Irena Zieniewicz + Ciru Karimi
tkaniny / textiles
students: Marygrace Wamamu, Peter Kyama, Lavenda Atieno, Winfread Ntinyari
Screen-printed textiles by Irena Zieniewicz and Ciru Karimi feature pigments obtained from the leaves, bark, seeds and roots of native plants applied to fabrics using contemporary production methods. The duo cooperated with Daima, one of the craftswomen working in the Mnarani district of Kilifi, to realize this project. They also organized a series of graphics workshops for Pwani University students to teach a technique that fuses traditional dyeing methods with modern technology.
Ciru Karimi is a self taught natural dyer. She is an eco artist who sustainably extracts dyes and color pigments from leaves, seeds, bark, and roots of plants. Her journey with natural dyes started when she was working at an indigenous forestry company as a researcher for NTFP’s (Non timber forest products). She has experimented her dyes on various mediums; cotton, wool, sisal, calabash, wooden chips, and paper to create earthy hues and shapes. On occasion, she has engaged in natural painting projects with the community schools. Children used the natural colors extracted and sisal brushes to paint on paper. She hopes to engage in more art and community projects through her natural hand-dyeing skill. Her mission is to collaborate with visual artists and garment designers to add value to the dyes by creating environmental friendly crafts. She envisions reducing the risks accompanying the use of synthetic dyes through inhalation of toxic fumes by dyers and painters.
Back to simplicity to reduce toxicity is her inspiration to keep researching and extracting natural dyes and pigments. This will awaken our inner spaces into co-existing with nature. She is currently working on a solo project “Women of color” to identify and document common dye producing plants. She currently resides in Kilifi, Kenya.
Irena Zieniewicz graduated in Graphics and Painting and Sculpture at the Strzemiński Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. In her work she touches upon such themes as: emigration, discrimination, identity, human rights, xenophobia, and intolerance. She works in such media as sculpture, site specific installation, painting artistic and design graphics.
From 2019 she works at the Academy of Art in Szczecin, in the Serigraphy Laboratory of the Center for Creative Industries.