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NINGIZIMU BANNER (article first published : 2001-11-17)

The Durban-based organisation Artists for Human Rights (AHR) will hold a silent auction of a 2.5 x 3m banner with thousands of beads and mirrors made by students of the Ningizimu School for the Severely Mentally Handicapped.

The tradition of Zulu love letters inspired the design of the internationally recognised AIDS ribbon as well as this three-piece banner on the theme of Celebrating Life. Fanciful birds, plants, and sea life surround a sun, lit by reflections off small mirrors woven into a beaded wire mesh.

The banner goes on view at the Durban Art Gallery in the AHR exhibition called Break the Silence on December 1 (World AIDS Day). Proceeds from the auction will help Ningizimu School purchase materials for future work and pay a small amount to each child involved in producing the banner. Half of the proceeds will go to Artists for Human Rights to support the continuation of these and other activities.

Created under the direction of Ningizimuís art teacher Robin Opperman, the banner first appeared at the Durban 2000 International AIDS Conference as the studentís contribution to the HIV/AIDS Billboard & Print Portfolio Project of the Artists for Human Rights. From Durban it will travel next year to New York to be part of an AHR exhibition of the billboard project at the headquarters of the United Nations.

Artists for Human Rights facilitates the contributions of artists through activities to promote greater awareness of HIV/AIDS and its effects on individuals and their communities. The Ningizimu banner will join the works of 31 artists (21 South African and 10 international) who have contributed art prints and other works to the HIV/AIDS project. AHR will be selling a limited edition portfolio (30 sets) of the original signed prints during the exhibition.

The exhibition opens on December 1 at 18h00 and runs until the end of January. For more information, contact Artists for Human Rights at the Fine Art Department of Technikon Natal on 031 204-2866 or email AHR@ntech.ac.za




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