The SECRETS OF BEADS / IMFIHLO YOBUHLALU exhibition opens at The Durban Art Gallery on Sunday 5th November 2017. This celebrates the richness of Zulu Culture represented by beadwork which has been collected by The Durban Art Gallery over a period of many years. This is the first time it will be shown to the public.
The making and wearing of Zulu beadwork throws light on the existence of the social structures and of the changing customs of Zulu culture in the diverse areas of KwaZulu-Natal. Women are mainly the creators who fashion the beads that pass on messages to their men folk and to the community at large. Changes in the styles of beadwork are due to pressures of fashion, social changes and difficulties, some of which were caused by the onset of migrant labour from the homelands to the cities, the AIDS epidemic and economic reasons.
The Director of The Durban Art Gallery Dr. M.M. Xakaza in his foreword to the catalogue, writes “Curators Anthea Martin and Hlengiwe Dube have crafted this exhibition to highlight the fact that traditional Zulu society has never been monolithic in terms of their usage of body adornment as a form of cultural expression. The Durban Art Gallery is honoured to have collaborated with such experts who have been immersed in this genre during their long careers at The African Art Centre”
Over a hundred items were selected from the Durban Art Gallery collection for their quality and as examples of beads from many of the areas in KwaZulu-Natal. The exhibition is accompanied by a full colour catalogue which documents each item. This is an essential aid for the understanding of each artefact. The English and Zulu name is given, with explanations of place, age, function and materials. The exhibition will have an educational component with lectures, workshops and a website for access by students.
The exhibition will close at the end of the day on Sunday 29th April 2018.