JOY FROM AFRICA
100 BEAUTIFUL BA KET EXHIBITION
The V&A Waterfront presents 100 Beautiful Baskets – a contemporary exhibition celebrating Africa’s unique basket-weaving traditions.
Visit the V&A Waterfront this festive season, and you will be welcomed by 100 Beautiful Baskets, a live installation curated by Platform Creative. Here, African pride and creativity will be celebrated, with a focus on the ingenuity of basket weaving. The exhibition forms part of “Joy from Africa to the World”, the V&A Waterfront’s campaign focused on the joy of a truly local festive season.
100 Beautiful Baskets celebrates Africa’s unique basketweaving traditions. It showcases woven vessels, furniture, jewellery and much more, from different communities, from Ghana to Zambia and Uganda. With a strong focus on southern Africa’s diverse groups of basket-weavers, this first-of-its-kind exhibition brings together some of the best-known names in basketry, giving this highly skilled handcra the recognition it deserves. 100 Beautiful Baskets aims to showcase the transition of African heritage into a contemporary world – a collective culture that all people from this continent can share and take pride in.
Each piece in 100 Beautiful Baskets – which includes baskets, furniture, tableware, fashion accessories and jewellery – has been carefully craed by hand by master weavers across the continent. Through its making, each item holds the imprint of its artisan – and behind every basket there’s a story to tell and a person to meet.
In addition to being master weavers, basket-makers are master mathematicians – a fact that oen goes unrecognised. Weaving is based on mathematical principles, and weavers must be highly skilled in the field of geometry to translate the ideas of symmetry into complex patterns. Within said patterns, you may notice indigo thread that has been woven into the design – not by creative input, but rather by purpose. In northern Niger, Tuareg weavers indicate the time spent on each basket or bowl with a beautiful design element. And at the end of every weaving day – some are longer than others, depending on family responsibilities – the artisans weave some indigo thread into the vessel, as an indication of where they le off. These Points du Jour (markers of the day) baskets thus become dotted with indigo, which subtly illustrates the story of time.
This and other stories will be shared with guests visiting the exhibition at the V&A Waterfront, which you’ll be able to view at the revamped cinema complex. Entry is free.
100 Beautiful Baskets introduces the world to the potential held in basket-weaving as an industry within Africa – from the different products it can be applied to, to the variety of materials that can be used to weave. The exhibition focuses on contemporary weavers and products from Africa, the leading continent in making baskets on such a large scale. The aim is to inspire and enrich every visitor to the exhibition, so that they leave with a stronger appreciation for the handcra and the human being behind each creation. joyfromafrica.com
Master weaver Angeline Masuku from Hlabisa in KwaZulu-Natal says it took her three full weeks to weave the Ukhamba Podium Basket, which is on show at the 100 Beautiful Baskets exhibition. That’s nearly 200 hours of dedicated passion poured into this unique piece of art! Angeline is well-known for her Zulu art weaving techniques as well as for the materials she uses, and she prides herself on creating unique designs that are true to her style and her upbringing. Angeline was only eight years old when her aunt, a competent basket weaver, started to teach her these skills. Even then, her aunt and the customers who bought from her already recognised Angeline’s technical skill. By the age of 18,
Angeline was an artist in her own right, leading the way for the next generation of female weavers.