Wednesday, January 13, 2010

San Ekoka Textiles Introduction

The Kalk Bay Modern is kick starting the New Year with preparations for the Design Indaba (26 Feb 2010 - 28 Feb 2010) in which they will be showcasing one of their most successful products – the Ekoka San Textile range.
[for more info on the Design Indaba click on the link below]
The story behind the textiles is a heartening one and at the core of the Kalk Bay Modern’s ethos to support community development and local creativity.
The Southern African San are made up of small communities spread out from the Northern Cape, Namibia, Botswana and Angola. Their way of life was shattered by the advent of the West into Southern Africa as well as the descent of more northern African tribes into these regions. The result is that today they resemble so many of the world’s displaced original peoples, living lives that straddle the border of the old and the new, lives that are often violent, harsh and in the clutches of alcoholism.
Over a decade ago Cheryl Rumbak, the director of the Kalk Bay Modern, came up with the idea of preserving the heritage of the San by creating textiles using the traditional imagery found mostly in rock paintings for the Kamatoka San shop at the Montebello Design Centre.
[To view the fascinating Montebello website, click on the link below]
Soon followed the powerfully uplifting concept and implementation of art workshops, run by Cheryl in Ovamboland and on the Angolan border, in order to reconnect the San with their roots, provide a fulfilling and healing creative outlet, and, possibly most importantly, a source of income for these poverty stricken people.
The result is the Ekoka label which comprises of a range of products manufactured from textiles printed with imagery taken directly from the work of artists who take part in these workshops. The artists work with the linocut medium as well as oil on canvas (these works are also for sale in the Kalk Bay Modern) and earn an income from royalty payments. 

The statements given by these artists on the affect these workshops and the creative outlet has had on their lives is extremely moving and as the Design Indaba approaches I will be writing about the individual artists and showcasing some of their work in my upcoming blogs.
The products are IFAT approved and are managed by Omba Art Trust in Namibia.

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