Safeguarding traditional crafts and challenging modern African aesthetics while creating jobs for women artisans.
KILUBUKILA CULTURAL PROJECT is a design and craft workshop that values Congolese heritage and cultures to create design objects and thus access international markets. The objects range from furniture and art textiles to chairs and lampshades.
KILUBUKILA now seeks to formalize artisans in Kinshasa by offering training in product creation, entrepreneurship, digital and marketing.
Luxury art textile brand KILUBUKILA has launched a stunning home décor collection that showcases designer Jess KILUBUKILA's Congolese identity and affinity with traditional Kuba textiles. The collection includes 12 cushions and 6 rugs, all handmade in Kinshasa and Kasai (DR Congo) by women artisans from the Kuba tribe.
The project helps the community to celebrate and preserve the cultural identity of the Kuba tribe by adapting the craft to contemporary standards and strengthening the economic resilience of its artisans. This philosophy has defined the history of KILUBUKILA since its inception.
The motifs are primarily inspired by the mandombe, a pan-African script created in the pre-colonial years and intended to be read and understood only by the black man in an ambition to reconnect him with his culture and past. This identity script also mixes flat colours inspired by modern paintings and flashes of colour experienced growing up in Kinshasa, known for its lush past and colourful wax prints.
The designs are made from 100% raffia palm that grows in the eastern part of the DRC, the production supports local farmers and the repopulation of the countryside. It is said that each cushion takes the weaver between 10 days and 2 weeks and the rugs between 1 and 2 months depending on the size.
The birth of the KILUBUKILA workshop was an initiative of Crafting Futures, supported by the UK Craft Council and the UNDP Business Call to Action, for its work in reducing poverty and gender inequality and providing decent education for all.