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Tuesday, November 3, 2015


(Phumlani Madela from uMlazi shows off some of the decorations he and other crafters have made for exhibition. Pic by Sharlene Versfeld)

The much-anticipated annual Christmas Exhibition showcasing the handmade beadwork, embroidery, telephone wire, clay and wood decorations is now running at the African Art Centre.

This exhibition fulfills the Centre’s mission to facilitate innovative products through creative skills development initiatives which enable local crafters to generate sustainable income through their art. The African Art Centre development projects enhance the existing skills of crafters residing in urban, peri-urban and rural KwaZulu-Natal communities, and bring to public attention the wares of new emerging talent.

This year the Centre presents exciting new work by young creatives currently being trained through its outreach Velobala Jewellery Design classes. Weaving in telephone wire for the first time, Wonder Msane, Phumlani Mbhele and Phumlani Madela have produced a range of ornaments in the formation of stars, hearts and angels executed in specified colour combinations.

“We are thrilled to see young people absorb new skills so creatively!,” says assistant director, Nozipho Zulu.

The telephone wire decorations will be available alongside the beaded, embroidered and wood decorations produced by well-known African Art Centre crafters: Happiness Dladla, Dumsile Mathe, Thokozane Mathe, Agnes Mthembu, Mavis Jali, Augnatia Khanyile, Tholani Mchunu, Hlengiwe Mbhele, Mbaliyethu Mabuza, Ntokozo Mseleku, Mbaliyethu Mabuza and Sbusiso Maphumulo. A wide range of products has resulted through a series of workshops facilitated by Leonie Malherbe, Busi Shinga and Nozipho Zulu.

A novel feature at this year’s exhibition are uniquely African-designed beach towels, the result of a partnership between Mr Price Home and four African Art Centre artists, Sibusiso Duma, Nonotobeko Jilajila, Mbali Mabuza and Timothy Mlambo. The beach towels represent the varied skills of the artists; Timothy is the woodcarver and creates wonderful mythical creatures, Sibusiso produces intricate paintings done in the pointillism style, Nonotobeko creates wonderful linocut prints and Mbali is a deft hand at applique embroidery.

Early this year, Mr Price Home hosted a workshop with the artists and a Mr Price Home designer. The artists produced their artworks which were adapted by the designer to suit the manufacturing restrictions of towel weaving.

“Championing great design is important to us; it is who we are and what we do at MRP Home. This Colab under the auspices of our “Design doing Good’ programme, will see a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every beach towel, being donated back to the African Art Centre in order to facilitate emerging artist development,” says Mr Price Home Merchandise Director, Yanni Vosloo. This new range will be in Mr Price Home stores from November 12.

The African Art Centre Christmas Exhibition runs until December 24 at the centre at 94 Florida Road Morningside, Durban. For more information contact 031 303 4634 or visit