#amplifymelanatedstitchers – Na Chainkua Reindorf


Amplify Melanated Stitchers - needlework and textile art by Black or Indigenous People of Colour.

Welcome to #amplifymelanatedstitchers, where we feature needlework and textile art by Black or Indigenous People of Colour.

Na Chainkua Reindorf is a mixed media artist specialising in beadwork and fibre work whose installations provide a modern reflection on indigenous traditions.

Na Chainkua Reindorf - Fall (2019) - Glass beads, nylon thread, cotton yarn
Na Chainkua Reindorf – Fall (2019) – Glass beads, nylon thread, cotton yarn

My work is very embedded in a sociological and anthropological context, so I am interested in the human and historical element and how culture affects the way we see and interact with materials. Beads are a very important part of Ghanaian culture, where I am from, and bead weaving is highly prevalent in Nigeria’s Yoruba tradition, so I found my inspiration from these two cultures.

Na Chainkua Reindorf - Writhe - A Grieving Process
Na Chainkua Reindorf – Writhe – A Grieving Process

My work is inspired by different aspects of the culture I experienced growing up but really didn’t question because it was just a part and parcel of everyday life. It took being away for me to truly make an effort to understand it better and want to make art that was inspired by it. In a kind of roundabout way, I truly believe the work I make is my way of understanding these traditional practices and presenting them to the world from my perspective.

Na Chainkua Reindorf - Scape (2019) - Glass beads, nylon thread, cotton yarn
Na Chainkua Reindorf – Scape (2019) – Glass beads, nylon thread, cotton yarn

Textiles/fabrics/cloth make up such a significant part of my culture. In Ghana, and in the majority of West Africa (and Africa as a whole actually) what we wear plays such a huge role in how we are perceived in society and similarly how we communicate with each other. Wearing a Kente cloth, for example, indicates an individual’s desire to be regarded with prestige because it has a rich history of being worn by kings and chiefs. I am very fascinated with this idea of such a common material carrying so much importance and value. My practice is all about storytelling and more recently, myth making, and I use textile culture as the medium through which I get to tell my stories.

Na Chainkua Reindorf - In My Father's Kente Trunk 1 (2016)
Na Chainkua Reindorf – In My Father’s Kente Trunk 1 (2016)

One of the most powerful thing about textile arts is it’s ubiquity – across the world there are long-standing cultural traditions with fibre art and while the modern world blankets us with homogenous ideals of heritage (brought to you in association with profit making) it’s important that we have artists like Na Chainkua who are refreshing the narrative by remixing textile forms into new concepts.

Na Chainkua Reindorf - Offering (2019)
Na Chainkua Reindorf – Offering (2019)

The connection with myths and memes of tradition and the reconstruction of the textile forms give us the opportunities to explore those stories and how they relate to today’s experience. Much like some of Faig Ahmed’s work, Na Chainkua’s installations dispel our preconceptions and raises expectations of how we might honour these traditions in the future.

Na Chainkua Reindorf - A Few Of Our Favorite Things (2016)
Na Chainkua Reindorf – A Few Of Our Favorite Things (2016)

You can see more of Na Chainkua’s work, including her more recent paintings, over at her Instagram and see more of her work at her website.

Are you a BIPOC artist working in needlecraft or Textile Art? Get in touch so we can share your work!

    Mr X

    Jamie Chalmers, aka Mr X Stitch, aka the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery is the founder of the Mr X Stitch site, the world's longest running embroidery blog, the curator of PUSH Stitchery and the author of the Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch. He is also the founder of XStitch, the game-changing cross stitch design magazine which launched in Summer 2017.

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