Mutuba skin is the fruit of a perfect harmony between man and nature, a tradition dating as far back as the 15th century. Recently proclaimed masterpiece of immaterial human heritage by Unesco, it is the tradition of the Baganda tribe based in southern Uganda. The fiber is extracted from the bark of the mutuba tree. Beaten, steamed and dried in the sun it acquires the looks of an animal skin, large, flexible and resistant.
Only few people possess the ancestral knowledge to make the cloth perfectly smooth, a knowledge passed forward to the younger generation exclusively within the family through repetition and observation.
Po! Paris was invited to Uganda by a local organisation leading various gender orientated activities to help create a new social business following our experience in the Balkans.
Together with Mark Eden Schooley we sourced the locally available materials and designed a new line of bags and pouches in mutuba skin.
The fibre is treated with latex based paint, sanded and waxed, and comes in many different shapes and finishes.
This activity contributes significantly to the survival of the Barkcloth tradition and to the development of new social businesses in the outskirts of Kampala, the capital of Uganda.