Material Matters

Appliqués by the Weya Women of Zimbabwe and Needlework by South African Collectives
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Dimensions and Pages: 297 x 210mm, 158pp
  • EAN: 9781868143528
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 

Needlework made by collectives is a significant contemporary art form in Southern Africa. The outcome of initiatives directed at upgrading the economic position of women, these art works are devised as vehicles through which women can support themselves and, in the case of rural projects, attract capital into communities in which job opportunities are scarce or non-existent.

Appliques by the Weya collective in Zimbabwe are an outstanding example of art that has emerged from an initiative of this type. In this detailed and beautifully illustrated book, which also serves as a catalogue of a traveling exhibition, a selection of writers explore the fascinating narratives in Weya appliques and provide important new documentation about the history of the collective. Contributors consider the appliques in the light of a history of needlework production in Africa and of the work of needlework collectives in South Africa, and focus on ways in which issues of gender have a bearing on both the production and reception of works in fabric.

The book provides a lasting record of an extraordinary exhibition and offers insights into the work which will be of interest not only to researchers, teachers and students of Southern African art but also to people interested in gender studies.

Brenda Schmahmann is head of Department and Professor of Fine Arts at Rhodes University,

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