THE ART OF BEAD­ING

Three ex­am­ples of how bead­work is be­ing em­braced in the art world

Elle Decoration (South Africa) - - CULTURE -

LIZA LOU

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

RALPH ZI­MAN

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

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