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ZIMELENI EMBROIDERY PROJECT (article first published : 2003-10-16)

The African Art Centre is to host an exhibition presented by the Zimeleni Embroidery Project which opens on October 15 at 17h30.

Zimeleni is an African Art Centre development project and the design and products of the workshops were funded by The African Art Centre. The exhibition will be opened by well known textile artist Leonie Malherbe who initiated workshops to improve and introduce new products.

Zimeleni Project operates out of the old Nestle Milk Factory, which is a historical landmark in the village of Donnybrook in the midlands of KZN. Artist and designer Carole Smale is the on-site project manager and she runs the successful Design for Africa Project which produces handpainted and starch resist fabrics.

Zimelini is self-sustaining and has gone from strength to strength. This is the first exhibition of their work.

The artists are Venancia Cele, Busisiwe Dlamini, Albertina Mbhele, Sizakele Mncwabe, Basolile Ndlovu, Francina Ngubo, Elsie Nxsane, Zibeleni Radebe and Purity Sithole. Together they chose the name Zimeleni, which means “to be independent”. Only a few were very experienced and some of the women had no sewing skills to begin with. All the women are rural mothers and earn an income from the project which now supports their families.

On show at the African Art Centre will be cushion covers, bags and framed pieces embellished with fabric appliqué, beading, machine and hand embroidery. Traditional Zulu beadwork was used for design inspiration. Each piece is unique and each woman has her own set of designs that she continually expands.

The exhibition opens at the African Art Centre on October 15 and runs in conjunction with the exhibition of silver and horn jewellery by Bongi Tshabalala and Vusimusi Langa.

More details from AAC director Anthea Martin on tel/fax 031 304 7915.




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