Himid, Lubaina (2017) FREEDOM KANGAS. Book Works. ISBN Special Edition

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This book engages with one of the many histories of Hull specifically that of the trade in enslaved Africans and those who have been credited with pushing for abolition. This is a handbook and a guidebook for how to escape, how to survive and how to arrive in one piece. Most of the texts are by civil rights activists. Each page is modelled on the design for an East African Kanga in which two pieces of cloth form a skirt and a top; the text attempts to tell the world what it means to be enslaved and how to form a strategy to survive.
My grandmother MaShulan loved to go to weddings with her friends. She lived in Zanzibar but was born in the Comoros. Like all stylish women she loved new clothes, so every time she received an invitation a new outfit was necessary; a new Kanga of course, with the cleverest motto available. MaShulan and her eight or nine friends would all wear the same design so that they would make the best impression, and that way everyone would know that they had come to the event together. MaShulan always asked her son, my father, to pay for all ten of the Kangas; he always agreed.
The book is designed to be enjoyed by people who want to help their friends find ways to survive and at the same time could reveal, in tandem with archive material and personal narratives about abolition, that no one gets anything significant done by themselves.’
Published and produced by Book Works in a special limited edition of 30 copies, signed and numbered by the artist. Images from her original Kanga paintings with short texts by the artist. Designed by Book Works Studio, 360mm x 515mm

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