Today I present you with a feast for the eyes in the form of the beaded art cloths created by the Hand-in-Hand project supported by the Omba Arts Trust.
The artist’s we are currently looking at belong to groups that mostly fall under the umbrella project of the Omba Arts Trust and are Namibian in origin. After Namibia’s independence in 1990 the tourist trade began to blossom with the result that new products, crafts and artworks began to develop within the local San communities. Beadwork has been a traditional craft practised by San women across Southern Africa since time immemorial but it has been given a new life through wonderful projects like Hand-in-Hand.
Most of the subject matter derives from what was once the traditional work of San women – gathering. The vegetable garden created in the community is their contemporary equivalent and of great important to their livelihoods, thus vegetables, as well as flowers, insects, birds and small animals are common themes.
The work below is by Christina Eises and is unusual in its subject matter – depicted is a man hunting, a subject that is common enough amongst the male painters and printers in San art groups but rare amongst the women.
The above work, also dealing with the unusual hunting theme is signed Magdalena Eises, so perhaps the women’s claim to the traditional images of hunting is something these sisters feel strongly about!
My particular favourites are this charming depiction of two tortoises in the scrub by Mara Britz and this unusual, slightly abstracted scene with a horse and a bird in flight by Maria Kasube.
And here are a few more exquisite works by Elizabeth Ganses, Katarina Kous and Martha Kavatjindje respectively.
These breathtaking works are all created on a black cloth background which allows the light-catching beads to really sparkle. It takes about a week of fulltime beading to create one of these beautiful pieces.