Vibrant, pulsating and alive – unique telephone wire woven designs made by Zulu men to encase glass bottles reflect one aspect of the development of a popular culture between the 1950’s and 1980’s in Southern Africa.
Practical, utilitarian, sometimes with a jazzy decorative appeal these items were considered a relevant part of gift exchange at marriage ceremonies in Kwa Zulu Natal, last century.
“.. in the land of the ancient Zulus in my time when I was a young man, we never used to call trees “trees” but rather “growing people”. “This is a person”. Credo Mutwa (1996:15)
Walls vividly painted with stylized botanical species, figurative imagery or repetitive patterns using linear motifs or dots announce the yards of traditional healers to passers-by.
Woven grass mats are a rather obscure traditional craft. This is the subtle, the quiet and the normally overlooked, beauty.
The beauty and simplicity of these tri-colour cloths strike an evocative cord with the viewer. They stir something primordial, perhaps our earliest memories of living closely with nature.
Earplug production spans decades, from the earliest 20th century until the 1990s and these elements of personal adornment visually depict the social history of the Zulu people of Kwa-Zulu Natal during this time. Continue reading “ZULU EARPLUGS FROM KWA-ZULU NATAL, S.A.”