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Saturday, August 4, 2012


(Crochet earrings)

A new range of beaded and crocheted jewellery designed by Hlengiwe Dube and Swedish artist, Anna Unsgaard, and a range of telephone wire tableware is currently on exhibition at the African Art Centre.

In view of the high levels of unemployment, the production of craft has become a significant source of income, particularly within rural and low-income communities in KwaZulu-Natal. Although the global market for South African craft is growing, the production thereof has been compounded by a number of factors including repetitive reproduction of designs and products which suppress innovation and creativity and limits the range of new products offered to demanding consumers.

The African Art Centre recognizes that the success of crafters lies in the development and initiation of new products and designs and the production of innovative high quality market related products.

Earlier this year, the Centre participated in an international cooperation project with The Swedish Arts Council. The aim of the Arts Council is to support, develop and initiate interaction between cultural organisations and to promote cultural diversity.

Swedish artist, Anna Unsgaard, who holds a MA Fine Art in Jewellery, introduced a group of 11 beaders from rural KZN to crocheting techniques and the combination thereof with fabric, wire and beads. Over a period of 30 days, a collection of unique items of jewellery was created by the group illustrating how contemporary craftswomen could bridge the gap from indigenous roots through to contemporary urban design.

Long term sustainability has always been an integral part of the African Art Centre’s development initiatives. This approach has been a major driving force for skills development programmes which ensure that participant crafters enjoy long-term fruitful outcomes from its interventions.

Included on the exhibition is a range of telephone wire tableware produced during a workshop funded by Santam Corporate and Social Investment for a group of 24 men and women from the KwaZibusele rural community in Greytown, KZN. New colour combinations, shapes and design possibilities were explored to ensure that the final products were of excellent craftsmanship. This project was conducted with a view to sustainability and developing marketable products which would survive the competitive telephone wire market.

The exhibition runs until August 9 at the African Art Centre at 94 Florida Road, Morningside. More information from the Director, Sharon Crampton, or the Development Officer, Nozipho Zulu, on 031 312 3805 or email or visit