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"Material Matters:Genre: Needlework by Rural Women s Collectives"
2001-02-10 until 2001-03-25
South African National Gallery
Cape Town, , ZA

Material Matters is an exhibition of one of the most dynamic art forms from contemporary Southern Africa - needlework. It focuses particular attention on works by a group of women in the rural community of Weya in Zimbabwe, and also provides fascinating examples of works from five projects in South Africa.

Needlework has provided poverty-stricken women with not only an income, but a voice: females, who would normally keep silent, have found in needlework a means of expressing their aspirations and anxieties. The appliquéd wall hangings made by the women of Weya include stories that focus on customs and norms in Shona communities, and speak of the ways in which these affect womens lives. Yet, far from being solemn, the stories are represented with humour and, in many instances, dramatic irony. Likewise, South African works in fabric demonstrate not only the technical proficiency of the women who make them, but also their imaginative and creative capacities.


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