buttons & bows, an exhibition of vintage Xhosa textiles and artefacts meticulously collected by alum and former staff member, Marion Gebhardt, will open at the Terra Contemporary gallery in Pretoria on 15 June at 14:00. This event promises to be a delightful journey through time and tradition, offering visitors a rare opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the beauty and craftsmanship of the Xhosa culture.

Gebhardt, who worked in the Department of Fine and Studio Arts, Faculty of Arts and Design, for several years, purchased authentic, ethnic beadwork, garments and artefacts since the 1980’s.

"The initial impetus for the collection was originally an investment and mostly came directly from the people, who were happy to exchange their everyday items for what they generally needed," says Gebhardt.

"During a trade process, cultural identity and awareness grew and it became important not only to preserve but also to educate."

Several exhibitions followed, as well as sales to discerning collectors from abroad. It also formed part of art history lectures.

The ochre blankets in the collection were originally just practical items of clothing. But it is their intricate decoration that gives them their artistic value. The patterns and colours also identify the different clans.

The estimated age of the blankets is between 40 and 60 years.

"The purpose of the exhibition is to act as a backdrop to inspire new creative outlets, while raising awareness of traditions that may be forgotten and lost forever," Gebhardt adds.

Other alumni of the Faculty of Arts and Design who will also participate in the exhibition and add their individual creativity, are: 

  • Godisang Ogunbambi – Fine and Studio Arts (Textiles) 
  • Adri Rademeyer - Fine and Studio Arts 
  • Trevor Kahn – Visual Communication (Photography) 
  • Michaelangelo - Fine and Studio Arts

The exhibition, which will be opened by Godisang Ogunbambi, who is also a part-time lecturer in the Department of Fine and Studio Arts, runs until 10 July.

Directions to the gallery: https://maps.app.goo.gl/YFQbTcUhPEBbcRhj6

Enquiries: 072 141 9622 

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