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Association Tanjona

The wild silk of Madagascar

For Prisca Marie Ramanaliniaina and the Association Tanjona, the artist collective she runs, silk native to their island represent textile traditions that go back beyond memory. Although the silk represents 21st century beauty and opportunity, it also plays a role in honoring ancestors. The fibers are soft and nubbly, a testament to the natural beauty of unique moth species and the skills of Tanjona’s artisans.

When handspun silk yarns are dyed, it’s with all-natural and locally grown roots, barks, and seeds. Tanjona also produces items made of cotton yarns sourced from the capital city of Antananarivo, Madagascar, which are dyed and woven by Ramanaliniaina and her team.

Ramanaliniaina and her association’s members live in the Amorni’mania region of Madagascar where their ancestors have been making silk and cotton products for centuries. As this is one of the coldest regions of Madagascar, the cotton blankets and sheets and well as silk scarves have always been a vital part of everyday life for people. Above anything else, this work connects Prisca to her now-deceased mother, who was a beloved master of dying and weaving techniques in this part of Madagascar. When Ramanaliniaina is asked why her creative practice is meaningful, she responds, “Mamelona ny asany neniko,” which means: “It keeps my mother’s work alive.”