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Thursday, July 26, 2018


(Photograph by Niamh Walsh-Vorster)

The KZNSA Gallery is hosting the exhibition Re-stitching Culture: Indigenous Dolls of South Africa, Australia and Canada in the Main Gallery, opening on July 31, 2018.

Encountering Countenance – Re-Stitching Culture reclaims traditional practice, explores health and well-being, and reveals intimate human stories through doll making.

Showcasing and bringing together three international examples of doll-making from three indigenous groups. The artists all use doll making to highlight cultural practices that support healing through storytelling, and the sharing of oral personal narratives, which promote the transmission of cultural teachings

Encountering the Gomeroi gaaynggal program colourful Yarning dolls (Australia); the Six Nations Haudenosaunee People, and their faceless cornhusk dolls (Canada); and the Siyazama Project (South Africa) with their beautiful beaded dolls, that support locally relevant HIV/AIDS education, is an unusual, and unique visual experience.

The Re-Stitching Culture collection of dolls collectively shows how the local indigenous communities from each nation, are strengthened through reciprocal, creative and healing processes. This, in turn, supports capacity building for problem solving, and the reclaiming of indigenous knowledge, history and identity.

Communal craft and art-making has traditionally been a visually powerful medium for expressing cultural identities. In the pre-colonial past, plant and animal materials were gathered, and crafted in combination with storytelling, singing and dancing. These actions helped to maintain social relations, perpetuate ideals, and support cultural behaviors that were considered beneficial in upholding communal well-being.

Doll making is an example of a communal visual art form that plays a role in supporting healthy indigenous communities. This communal gathering of individuals to learn new artistic skills and to revitalize the stories, memories and identities are exemplified by the making of their individual dolls, which are all now presented in exhibition form to further the cause and inform the public.

Re-stitching Culture: Indigenous Dolls of South Africa, Australia and Canada runs from July 31 to August 19, 2018. The KZNSA Gallery is situated at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, in Durban. More information on 031 277 1705, fax 031 201 8051 or cell 082 220 0368 or visit