YOUNG Bay artists and designers will present “edgy, funky, fashionably fun” outfits and accessories inspired by traditional African design to the opening of a contemporary exhibition at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art museum tonight.
The museum is opening this showcase of Nelson Mandela Bay designers, titled “Journeys in beadwork: dialogues in contemporary style”, at 6pm.
The exhibition features mohair jerseys by award-winning designer Laduma Ngxokolo; bow-ties by Ntsikelelo Solani of Shakaxhosa; shoes by Masibulele Matshaya and Sibongiseni Mnikina of Bambanani Fresh Art; bags by Luyanda Mpolongwana of Irity Leather Works and James Afro Designs, and hair pieces made by Masabata Taoana, which have been photographed by Sarah Keogh.
Designers Ati Qina, Asanda Mali and Tina Ngxokolo will add dress wear to the exhibition.
Curator Emma O’Brien said the exhibition would run as “a companion to the traditional beadwork exhibition ‘ Journey’s in Beadwork: The Art of Mfengu’ which opened last year in an adjoining gallery. Both exhibitions close late in March.
“Beadwork is an important symbol of African heritage and a beautiful form of artistic expression that connects the past with the present, the rural with the urban and the traditional and with the contemporary,” said O’Brien.
Laduma Ngxokolo, who will be showcasing his 2012-2013 knitwear range, inspired by the 1800s Xhosa beadwork said he felt “very privileged” to show his work tonight as “platforms of this nature are very scarce” in the city.
Through his work he will illustrate “beauty behind culture”.
“My work fits well with the overarching theme of the exhibition because the patterns I used in this specific collection were inspired by beadwork I saw when I visited this art museum in 2010.
“This will encourage people to read up on my work and see the link between the museum and collection,” said Ngxokolo.
Keogh has collaborated with Taoana to showcase a series entitled Multi-Culturally Modernised – a study and exploration of African cultures.
The photographs “create an awareness of cultural identity, and a modernised, possibility of how cultures and tribes may appear in the future,” said Keogh.
Qina said the show was good for the Bay and hoped it would be an annual event.
Further information from O’Brien at (041) 506-2000 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org