Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence

Now at the Dayton Institute of Art are grand, elaborate, beaded tapestries made by Xhosa (and one Zulu) women from rural South Africa, “Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence.” Ubuhle means “beauty” in the Xhosa and Zulu languages. In the article on Dayton Local, Amy Dallis writes that the beadwork is contemporary in style, and covers contemporary issues such as HIV/AIDS as well as the universal themes of family, community, and hope. The largest of the 31 tapestries is 15 feet high, and seven women worked for a year to complete it. I wrote about this exhibition earlier, during it’s inaugural showing at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, and now it’s on tour.

This touring exhibition is in Ohio through September 10th. The tour is being managed by International Arts & Artists, and tour dates so far include the Flint Institute of Arts; the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (a lovely museum, I’ve been there); the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk; and the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Melbourne, FL. I’ll see it when it gets to Iowa next summer.

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