African Batik 90g Single Print

90g single print african batik

African Batik 90g Single Print

With a wide range of patterns and motifs, batik fabrics—also known as ankara, Dutch wax print and Hollandais—are synonymous with Africa. Their bold designs and colours are often used to convey a variety of messages.

Europeans brought these patterned cloths to West Africa in the 1800s after mastering their mechanized production in Indonesia. They became popular amongst African women, who gave feedback on which designs would cater to their market.


Wax print fabrics – also known as Dutch wax prints, African waxes and Liputa – are woven into the artistry and identities of many West African men and women. These patterned cloths, along with their roller-print cousins, are omnipresent in the homes and on the bodies 90g single print african batik of people across the continent, from the wrappers and headscarves of the women in the photos of Seydou Keita to the oversized frockcoats of the headless figures in Yinka Shonibare MBE RA’s Scramble for Africa installation. Originally introduced to West and Central Africa by European merchants who took inspiration from native Indonesian techniques and Akwete cloth designs, these cloths have become part of the rich fabric of African culture.


Batik is a technique that was first practised in Ancient Egypt, and has since been adapted by cultures around the world. The process involves soaking the cotton fabric in dye before applying a design using melted wax. The parts of the fabric covered in wax resist the colour, while the uncovered sections take on the colour of the dye. The melted wax is then removed to reveal the pattern. This is a time-consuming process and requires a great deal of skill.

Traders from Indonesia brought this art form to West Africa in the nineteenth century. Local people began to experiment with this new cloth and created patterns that ranged from abstract geometry to figurative images. These were worn by men and women as a form of expression, as well as communication. The patterned fabrics announced everything from marital status, mood and religious beliefs.

Today, batik is a cherished textile in Africa. The patterned fabrics, sometimes known as ‘Dutch Wax’ or ‘Akara’, are part of the heritage and identity of the continent. They can be found in the works of artists like Seydou Keita, Malick Sidibe and Amsatou Diallo. The prints are also used by contemporary designers like Logan, Muckett and Vlisco to make clothes and homewares that draw on African culture and history.

The process of making batik is an ancient one, with traces even being found in the wrappings of Egyptian mummies. The modern technique of mechanising the process was developed in Java, Indonesia by the Dutch, who mechanised the techniques they picked up from their Indonesian colonial rivals.


The first step in batik is to wash the fabric so that any traces of starches, lime and chalk, used as sizing materials, are removed. The cloth is also boiled many times to prepare it for the wax application. This process is a labor-intensive one, and traditionally was done by men. It is then pounded and ironed to make it smooth, which helps the wax soak in better and creates a deeper dye color.

Once the sizing and cleaning are complete, the artisans start the real batik process. The first color applied is usually a light yellow, which comes from the bark of the soga tree. Once this has been soaked and dried, it is ready to be dipped in the next dye. This is the process where the skill of the artisan really shows. The ability to control the amount of time the cloth is dipped, as well as how many times it is dipped, will determine the final color and shade.

The pattern and colors of the cloth can indicate everything from marital status and mood to political and religious beliefs. The process of creating these fabrics, also known as ankara, has its roots in batik, a dye technique from Java that was introduced to West Africa by Dutch colonial merchants. These commercially produced, colourful cotton cloths were named after the Indonesian technique and were adapted to local tastes and patterns. This is how they became so cherished in the region today.


The patterns of batik and its derivative, roller print or Ankara, are omnipresent in African homes. They are woven into the history, artistry and identities of the continent, a visual language that announces everything from marital status and mood to political and religious affiliations.

Printed cotton fabrics with a wax-inspired printing technique, known as kanga, are the fabric of choice in many African garments. They feature on 90g single print african batik the wrappers and headscarves of women in the photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe, and adorn the bodies of women in the works of artists like Abderramane Sakaly and Amsatou Diallo. Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Scramble for Africa series (2003), featuring 13 headless figures dressed in Dutch wax-printed frockcoats, illustrates the continuing influence of Europe’s colonialism on Africa through these commercially produced cloths with a distinct patterned print.

The process for creating batik was introduced to West and Central Africa by Dutch merchants in the nineteenth century. They adapted the native Indonesian techniques and Akwete cloth designs to appeal to a local market. The merchants also encouraged Africans to produce the cloth locally. Jean Baptiste Theodore Previnaire[10:16] and Pieter Fentener van Vlissingen developed a machine-printing process that could imitate batik without the laborious application of wax.

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