Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence showcases a new form of bead art, the “ndwango,” developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The artists call their paintings in beads “ndwangos,” which translates as “cloth” or “rag.” By stretching the fabric like a canvas, the artists transform the flat cloth into a contemporary art form with colored Czech glass beads.
Ubuhle was established in 1999 on a former sugar plantation north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal when Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela and Bev Gibson shared a vision of combining skills to create employment for rural women. Together they created a means for local women to use inherited beading traditions as a way of achieving their own financial independence. As a master beader, Ntombephi also trained other women not brought up in this tradition so that they too could join the community.
Below are some of the amazing works of art currently available in our Museum Store along with the stories behind the designs provided to us by co-curator Bev Gibson. Layaway program available. Please contact the Museum Store at 319-362-8500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.