Six Yards Guaranteed Dutch Design 2012

As early as 1846, the Vlisco company, based in Helmond, served the West African market with Dutch Wax textiles. From 29 January through 6 May, 2012, the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem presented Six Yards Guaranteed Dutch Design, an exhibition about how Vlisco’s Dutch textiles became a part of various West African cultures and found their way into international fashion, the visual arts, and photography. The exhibition Six Yards was a tribute to Vlisco textiles: over a hundred years old, born in Indonesia, designed in the Netherlands, loved in Africa, and desired in the West. These colourful fabrics make their way to fashion shows in Paris, the markets in Ghana, and galleries in London and New York. The exhibition Six Yards focused on all the relevant angles, from their presence and meaning in the work of artist Yinka Shonibare, to the stories in the oral tradition that have come from the fabrics.

This exhibition was put together by us, focussing on the areas where art, design, and fashion meet. Through these disciplines, we made a voyage of discovery through the world of Vlisco fabrics, the pattern designs, and their often surprising significance. Six Yards explored the history of the textiles and their stories, touched on Dutch (post-)colonial history, took a look at the differences and similarities between Western and non-Western cultures, and shed light on how visual artists like Viviane Sassen and Yinka Shonibare, as well as top designers around the world have been inspired by Vlisco’s textiles — right up to the Spring/Summer 2012 collection.

Six Yards is the standard size of 1 piece of Vlisco textile as it is bought on the market.

Artists, photographers, and fashion designers with work in the exhibition:
Yinka Shonibare, Kara Walker, Ellen Gallagher, Wangechi Mutu, Fatimah Tuggar, Viviane Sassen, Lucy Orta, Hans Eijkelboom, Seydou Keïta, Andrea Spotorno, Meschac Gaba, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Collectie Arnhem, Harvey Bouterse, Acne, Marga Weimans, Dries van Noten, PetrouMan, Querijn Maurits Ver Huell en Vlisco designers.

Entrance to Six Yards