Textile designer Michelle Njeri Cuthbert is intent on using her designs to appreciate and give value to the women of Kenya and their role in society. Michelle recently completed an MA in Textile Design from Chelsea College of Art in London, where she focused on communication through the medium of printed textiles and graphic design.
For her final project, Michelle interviewed women in Kenya who carry heavy loads. She found that these women are the “fabric of society”; for as they transport their goods from one place to another, they also deliver messages, “stitching the world together, creating a network”.
Michelle created a series of illustrations depicting the women she interviewed. She uses bright and vibrant colours to celebrate and reflect these women’s strength and positivity. In Michelle’s illustrations, the women are in high-heeled shoes – associated with extreme femininity – to illustrate the clash of social expectations with female strength. Michelle then printed these illustrations onto a series of posters and silk scarfs.
Illustration by Michelle Njeri Cuthbert.