Ruti Singer

Dear Africa - Iconography/Geography/Biography

Photo: Boaz Nubelman

In the eyes of many, colorful textiles symbolize Africa, where they are made into garments for holidays and special occasions. Their repeating patterns are associated with various meanings. These elements are familiar to Ruti Singer and evoke longings for her childhood in Africa, where she has lived until she was ten years old.

As an adult, she became aware that the African textiles had originated in Indonesian batik dyeing, arriving in Africa under Dutch colonialis; today, their imitations are manufactured in China. 

Inspired by the African fabrics, Ruti Singer invents patterns with autobiographical symbolism based on childhood stories and traumas. Through laborious manual effort, she makes painted strips, laden with colors and textures, on Chinese paper, which tactile feel and absorbency of the dyes and inks are like in cloth. This transformation disrupts the design, wrinkle it, alternately revealing and hiding it among the stains. 

Follow in Ruti’s footsteps: print and construct your own pattern from her array of symbols or create a set for a personal repeating pattern based on your memories. Share on the gallery’s Facebook page.