East Africa

Threads of Heritage: Exploring the Malagasy Textile Art of Madame Zo

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The upcoming exhibition at the Fondation H titled “Bientôt, je vous tisse tous (Soon I will Weave you All) showcases the impressive works of Madame Zo (Zoarinivo Razakaratrimo). This exhibition promises to be an exciting event for art lovers who appreciate the beauty and creativity of textile art.

Madame Zo showcases the rich cultural heritage of Madagascar. Through her works, she employs the use of vibrant colours and intricate details. She uses traditional weaving techniques and materials to create stunning pieces of art. Moreover, the pieces are both visually stunning and culturally significant.

Since becoming one of the most renowned artists in the country, adeptly channelling the heart of traditional and modern Malagasy culture, she has exhibited her works in numerous galleries and museums around the world. Notably, she showcased her art at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris and the Textile Museum of Canada

Her works represent a body of abstract art that fuses various language games and significant details, almost like an enigma. Through her art, she reveals a vision of Malagasy society and a poetic reading of the world.

Madame Zo’s monographic exhibition, “Soon I will weave you all,” features a hundred of her works from 1956 – 2020. These large pieces engage in a lively, sculptural and organic dialogue. She brings to the forefront the major themes of orature” to “cinetiss,”. The threads in her weavings convey messages that summon memories and evoke powerful emotions.

Image courtesy of Foundation H gallery:”Soon I will weave you all ‘Installation -Madame ZO

The exhibition encapsulates the promise of endless experimentation that Madame Zo brings to her craft. She explores new techniques and uses new materials to produce breathtaking pieces that push the boundaries of traditional weaving. Visitors will get to experience the depth of her artistic vision, which is deeply personal and yet universally relevant.

Madame Zo uses traditional Malagasy weaving techniques in a modernized way to create a connection between the past and present throughout the years. She creates intricate patterns and textures using natural fibres like raffia and silk and then dyes them with natural pigments.

Madame Zo’s strong cultural references in her works reflect her deep connection to her Malagasy heritage. She draws inspiration from the traditional textiles and clothing of Madagascar for many of her pieces. She frequently incorporates meaningful motifs and symbols from Malagasy culture.

The upcoming exhibition at the Fondation H will feature a range of Madame Zo’s works. It includes large-scale tapestries, wall hangings, and smaller woven pieces. Visitors will be able to see the intricate details of her works up close and appreciate the skill and creativity that goes into each piece.

Image courtesy of Foundation H gallery: Ongoing exhibition at the Foundation H gallery ‘ Soon, I will weave you all’ – Madame Zo

Furthermore, in addition to showcasing Madame Zo’s works, the upcoming exhibition will provide visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the traditional weaving techniques and materials used in Malagasy textile art. As a result, visitors will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the cultural significance of Madame Zo’s work.


Rose Mwikali Musyoki is a creative writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance from the University of Embu, Kenya, and is the founder of Bloom Inc, an art startup in Kenya. Currently, she works as a writer for Art News Africa.

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