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Oct 16, 2018. - Feb 24, 2019.

Ubuhle Women

Beadwork and the Art of Independence

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Bongiswa Ntobela (South African, 1973−2009) Funky Bull, 2006, Glass beads sewn onto fabric, The Ubuhle Private Collection


Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence features the ndwango (“cloth”), a new form of bead art that has been developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The artists use colored Czech glass beads to transform the flat black cloth into a contemporary art form of remarkable visual depth. Using skills handed down through generations and working in their own unique style “directly from the soul,” the Ubuhle Women create abstract as well as figurative subjects for their ndwangos. Twenty individual ndwangos and one monumental artwork will be on view, as well as photographs of the Ubuhle artists taken by renowned South African photographer Zanele Muholi.

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence was developed by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, DC, in cooperation with curators Bev Gibson, James Green, and Ubuhle Beads, and is organized for tour by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.