This project was designed around the principles of participatory design centred around *Lihani (the sun), in an intrinsic investigation into the role and value of Solar energy and Solar design in relation to the craftsmanship of Inhambane. This resulted in the new material: Solar Palha, in which the traditional weaving techniques and materials of the artisans and Studio Pauline van Dongen’s Zonnestof (flexible solar cells) were combined. The joyful exchange of craftsmanship yielded new knowledge, skills and perspectives for both artisans and designers.
“Lighty, lighty, lighty!” – the song birthed out of Solar Palha that the women sang during the making process.
Published by IFFTI 2021
Our attempt to fluidly approach the role of the artisan and the designer challenged our consideration to the relationship designers and indigenous artisan communities have. In the context of the artisan’s relationship with their surroundings, the holistic embodiment of community living where the artisan’s livelihood depends on the craft and the craft depends on the livelihood, it is imperative to question how an equity-based design setting is even possible. After all, we ourselves repeatedly appoint/write from the perspective of thedesigner vs craftswoman; those differences may also be there, but they must be given a dignified and explicit role and place to come into their own.
*Lihani means the sun that touches our skin and the plants in the local dialect, Gitonga.