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KWASUKASUKELA (article first published : 2001-12-26)

Kwasukasukela (Once upon a time) is an exhibition by Thafa Dlamini and Siza Mkhize at the BAT Centre Democratic gallery. They have chosen this title because it relates to their art which is made using traditional method of beadwork and its inspiration comes from the traditional folk stories. Their style has been reinvented with the use of various colours and designs to suit the present times. Siza believes that art is made from another dimension and that artists must not try to do realism but need to have their own invention and interpretation in order to come up with a creative artwork.

Siza displayed creative interest at a young age, attending various art development workshops over the years. In 1999 he attended a doll-making workshop at the Durban Art Gallery which introduced him to crafting with beads. With much enthusiasm he encouraged his common wife Thafa to try her hand at it, as this is not usually a craft form practised by men. From modest beginnings they have developed their own style and imagery in their truly unique beaded sculptures of angels and chameleons.

Siza makes the wire armatures which Thafa then clads in fabric and embellishes with glass beads in decorative patterns. Their craft products allow them to work from home enabling them to look after their two young children. They received a Merit Award in the FNB Vita 2000 Craft exhibition and are presently preparing for their first solo at the Bat Centre.




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