Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Kuru, Keiskamma artists share skills

The women of Kuru Art Project and the Keiskamma Art Project artists from the Eastern Cape in South Africa, met this week to shared skills in embroidery and knowledge of plants.
While the Keiskamma Art project artists shared their embroidery skills, the Kuru Art Project artists shared their print -making abilities. The two groups of artists received training from a South African botanist in preparation for the upcoming botanical art exhibition themed: Working with Plants which will be held in September in Hamburg, South Africa.
In an interview, botanist Wendy Hitchcock from Cape Town, explained that her role as a botanist was to check and identify names of plants scientifically and thereafter document the findings.  She noted that the names needed to be scientifically accurate alongside the traditional names so that they could come out artistic.
She said botanical art produces an accurate portrait of a plant, which is more valuable as it highlights more details of the plant.
In the past, Hitchcock stated that it was science when artists were used to draw plants, but now cameras are used to take pictures of plants.
“Nevertheless it is cheaper to take a picture, but it is not better,” charged Hitchcock. 
She noted that although it takes a long time to finish when one draws the plant, she emphasized that it is worth the time as the artist pays more attention to details of the plant as they draw.
Hitchcock said she noticed that Kuru artists have knowledge of plants in their heads, while she has to carry books for reference purposes adding that such vast knowledge should be preserved so that the western society could learn from them.
Founder and coordinator of Keiskamma Art project, Carol Hofmeyr said they have worked with the Kuru Art project artists for the past three years and they have learnt a great deal from the Naro people, especially in their use of plants in their drawings and paintings.
Hofmeyr said when the association with Kuru Art Project started, Keiskamma made embroidery designs on cushions and bags using the Kuru art designs.
The crafts were then exhibited and some of the sales were given to the Kuru Art Project.
“But we did not want to take everything from them, therefore we decided on the botanical art workshop where there is also embroidery,” she said.
Hofmeyr pointed out that they wanted the ladies to do embroidery on their own in their designs, therefore getting all the sales of the crafts. Although the workshop brought in embroidery skills, some of them were already familiar with the skill while others learnt fast.
The workshop, Hofmeyr noted, was more than just an art activity but also a cultural exchange of the two groups. “We have realized that our people are not exposed to other tribes’ way of life, especially those outside their country,” she said.
She noted that the visit was an exploration for their artists to learn and appreciate other people’s way of life especially those outside South Africa. 
Nombuyiselo Malumbezo from Keiskamma art project expressed gratitude to the Kuru artists, saying they have learnt a lot from them. She said she has realized that colours can be played with to produce a beautiful work of art. ENDS
Source : BOPA
Author : Ketshepile More
Location : Ghanzi
Event : Artistic Networking
Date : Mar 25 Mon,2013