A G B A R A

Skin bleaching is still a global issue. To meet Western standards of beauty, people with darker skin – mostly women – use harsh chemicals to remove melanin from their skin. This project questions the wish for fairer skin, connected to a long history of white dominance. Inspired by West-African Manilla jewellery, once used as currency in the slave trade, Yinka Buutfeld created a set of awareness pieces. Using various passementerie and bleaching techniques on rough shipping rope, she transforms the shackles of the past into voluminous accessories. Bearing the marks of the chemical treatment, they send out a statement to cherish all skin colours. AGBARA, meaning power in Yoruba, empowers the body’s natural beauty.

The awareness pieces are inspired by the beautiful West-African jewellery called Manillas  (money) or Alloy.
During the design process, I saw a correlation in the history and story of the Minalla’s. The contradiction between the perception of beauty. They are well-known for their bold crafted characteristics and are sometimes used as domestic decorative elements.

Photography
Iris Rijskamp

I used to admire them as beautiful objects laying on the windowsill. Unfortunately I discovered, that their story, is a story in grief.
In the colonial past, they were used as a trading source, to trade slaves and other goods.

The colour range is focussed on the melanin skin tone and side effects the chemicals cause when people bleach their skin.  Hydroquinone, mercury are mostly used as a whitening product, but have hazardous effects externally as well as internally. For example scarring, skin thinning, speckled skin, skin burn, stretch marks, lung damage and much more.  The awareness pieces are created with the thought  that the human body is something very precious and delicate. Embrace the colour of your skin. This project was in collaboration with Textilemuseum and with the guidence of passementerie expert Veva van der Wolf.

Graduation Project 2021 

Design Academy Eindhoven

Photography Iris Rijskamp

Graduation Project 2021

 

Design Academy Eindhoven

Design Academy Eindhoven

Photography Iris Rijskamp