Mandombé meaning ‘That which is black’ is a script that was created in 1978 in Mbanza-Ngungu in the Bas-Congo province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Wabeladio Payi. The script, based on the square shapes of the numbers 2 and 5 is intended to write the country’s national languages and has inspired designer Jess Kilubu to explore using script and shapes to revitalise traditional Kuba Cloth Textiles. Jess is the founder of Kilubukila, a textile brand based in Kinshasa, the DRC.
Initially funded by the British Council the project started out as a collaboration between female artisan weavers in the DRC and linguists to translate the Mandombé script into contemporary patterns that could be woven into cloth. The resulting Mandombé Collection is a colourful line of cushions, and black and natural rugs featuring the graphic shapes of the script. Drawing upon the centuries-old skills of Kuba cloth weaving the Mandombé Collection textiles are handwoven using organic raffia.
By using the Mandombé Script Jess seeks to bridge the gap between craftsmanship and design and tell the stories of the DRC’s peoples, culture, and heritage. Committed to exploring Congolese craft and design Kilubukila is introducing a new design language and create products that can contribute to sustainable livelihoods for those the company partners with.
For further information about Kilubukila visit: https://kilubukila.com
[Image credits: The images shown belong to Kilubukila. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]