Established in 2000, the Keiskamma Art Project located in Hamburg, Eastern Cape, produces important textile artworks that help document the overall memory of the province and safeguard oral history. This special enterprise has won several awards, including the Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) and the Chairman’s Premier Award in 2011, which perceives a sustained and unprecedented obligation to human expressions in South Africa.
Checking in on a long time since the Keiskamma Art Project was sent out, the exhibition “Umaf’ evuka, nje ngenyanga” – Dying and rising like the moon – brings together a selection of notable pieces into a living experience. It is an inquiry, through weaving and storytelling, into the structure that holds the system together, the importance of man and the real factors evident in the disease. This review highlights discussions involving art as a mode of articulation and repair.
The renowned curator and collector, Azu Nwagbogu, co-creator of this exhibition is in the process of approaching customary oral chronicles and presents itself as a loudspeaker to enhance narratives and encounters by and for individuals who are usually not heard. Through simultaneous performance and documentation, “Umaf’ evuka, nje ngenyanga” – Dying and rising like the moon – encourages a protected climate to elevate healing and sharing to bring individuals and communities together.
This year, Constitution Slope, a living museum that chronicles South Africa’s journey to a system of majority rule, notes the norms of its extraordinary constitution-making. Saturated with history, Constitution Slope is a very representative site.
Against this backdrop, Keiskamma artists have made three designs for a series of embroideries, in a limited version, entitled “Our South Africa“.
In these stunning pieces, they reveal what they value most about our majority government and what the pillars of our Constitution – correspondence, opportunity and human pride – mean in their daily lives as women from a crumbling region of the Eastern Cape.
The finished artworks, luxuriously colored, breathtaking and intriguing, are an emblematic story of opportunity for a challenging region. Furthermore, the woven artworks address a private articulation of individual expectations and dreams, shown joint by joint.