THE ART OF BEADING
Three examples of how beadwork is being embraced in the art world
The South African-based American artist has spent her career working with traditional Zulu beadmakers to create grand installations with intricate detailing. Her piece, ‘The Waves’, is installed in an entire room at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town. The work consists of 1 200 handbeaded panels, with each sheet crafted by a different woman in her studio. A subtle colour variation exists, as the white beads used absorbed the oils from the hands of their creator, reminding us of the human effort involved in the process. lizalou.com
Filmmaker and artist Ralph Ziman called on six Zimbabwean beadmakers to create several hundred beaded AK-47s – ‘an incredibly iconic weapon that is loved, revered and fetishised in Africa’ – which were used as the subject matter for his multimedia project Ghosts. Shot in Johannesburg, the work was created in response to the international arms trade and the violent effect it has on Africa as a continent. ralphziman.com
NELSON MANDELA METROPOLITAN ART MUSEUM (NMMAM)
In 2010, the NMMAM celebrated
Nelson Mandela Bay as a host city for the FIFA Soccer World Cup by presenting Ubuhle Bentsimbi: The Beauty of Beads.
Curated by Emma Taggart, the exhibition highlighted beadwork of the Eastern Cape and promoted the idea that the craft is not only part of South Africans’ heritage, but should also be respected for its artistic value. artmuseum.co.za