Hamburg, Ntilini, Bodium,Gqeberha, Cape Town, Johannesburg
Keiskamma Art Project’s work features the exchange of stories, focusing on the experiences of rural women in particular. Artists at Keiskamma Art Project use embroidery as a primary means of expression, finding dignity in creating work and being part of a process of documenting rural life with its challenges and hopes.
An exchange project between rural women in Hamburg at the Keiskamma Art Project and women in the Winterveld at Mapula Embroideries allowed for each woman to share her stories via Whatsapp in a combination of texts, images and video. From this exchange each woman produced a tapestry of their partner’s life, showing their daily realities.
A beautiful film, capturing this exchange and the final embroidered works, is underway. Further, a weeklong collaborative project between Keiskamma Art Project and Artcollab Studio was undertaken, centred around the theme of Gender Based Violence. Artists from Cape Town and Johannesburg joined the artists in Hamburg to share techniques, exchange stories, build resilience and friendship and create together. The collaboration resulted in a series of printed works, costumes, and filmed video portraits.
A third project involved an injection of creative work into a monumental COVID Resilience Tapestry being produced by the artists of Keiskamma Art Project. This tapestry expresses the emotional seasons the community has been through since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and is replete with illustrations of experiences during a journey with COVID-19.
These projects, involving 23 artists, are 75% complete and are currently unpaid due to lack of release of the full awarded NAC grant.
Nozeti Makhubalo is an artist who has been part of the Keiskamma Art Project since its inception 20 years ago. Presently, Nozeti suffers from rheumatoid arthritis which makes going into the studio and embroidery work a painful challenge. The planned short film about Nozeti’s artistic journey has been put on hold due to insecurity of payments from NAC. The filmmaking process would have given her income at a time when her own practice has become strained due to her condition.
ARTISTS IN THE COLLABORATION
Anelisa Lisa Nyongo
Nombulelo Kwandi Paliso
Chelsea Rose Evans
THE KEISKAMMA ART ROJECT
The Keiskamma Art Project is part of the greater Keiskamma Trust, a South African not-for-profit organization dedicated to the holistic care of the communities that live in the area alongside the Keiskamma River in the Eastern Cape. The Trust began with a healing vision, to restore hope and dignity to people with very few resources, living at the precipice of change. It was founded in 2000 by artist and doctor, Carol Hofmeyr. Today the Keiskamma Art Project, the flagship of the greater Trust, works to maintain its founder’s vision, providing vital livelihoods through dignified work, while communicating through art, the reality of rural lives affected by both poverty and history.