Taking Malagasy fibers and weaving them in new directions is Zoarinivo Razakaratrimo, Madagascar's pre-eminent fiber artist. Zo took up weaving relatively late in life as a creative outlet, but it soon became a full-time artistic career. Her large wall hanging called "Craziness" incorporates Malagasy spices, such as vanilla and cinnamon, and found objects, such as pens, phone cards and chain, as it demonstrates her three-fold artistic goals: to break through the limitations of the two-dimensional weaving plane; to promote the rich cultural and natural heritage of Madagascar; and to show the beauty in the ordinary.
For years, Zo worked in isolation, experimenting and creating for herself. Today, she is wellknown in both local and international art circles for her inventive approach to textile arts. She has won juried prizes at international art exhibitions, such as the Dak'Art international biennial in Senegal in 1999. In 2000, she opened her own boutique, Zo Artiss', offering one-of-a-kind interior furnishings. She continues to make "crazy" textiles for her own pleasure and occasionally for sale.
Hand-woven cotton and plant fiber wall hanging with objects (natural and found) inserted into the weft. The wall hanging is composed of a warp of primarily natural colored cotton fiber and a weft dominated by four horizontal registers of thin light-brown reeds. Other elements inserted into the weft include vibrant strands of orange thread, an off-white candle, a pen and tufts of white light and dark brown fiber. Thin strands of plant fiber are knotted at the top so that the hanging can be suspended. A wide band of light brown tufted cotton fiber leads to the alternating light and dark patterns that dominate the textile. It terminates in two long braided strands of cotton fiber.
Gifts and Blessings: The Textile Arts of Madagascar Malagasy, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, April 14-September 2, 2002