Ubuhle Women & Czech Beads

Jul 12, 2018

The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids recently opened an extraordinary exhibit that will run through September 17th. This show entitled “Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence” showcases a form of bead art developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Join IPR’s Jacqueline Halbloom as she interviews Stefanie Kohn, Curator of The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library about this new exhibit.

The artists of this exhibit include Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela, Thando Ntobela, Zandile Ntobela, and Zondlile Zondo. The women are proud of “What started as a humble project, using traditional skills to create independence and give rural artists hope” which has “evolved into the artists of Ubuhle stunning the World with their mesmerizing fine art.” They say that “By being recognized as International artists” they have “challenged the traditional perception of rural women and showcased them as the dignified, gifted, dedicated artists that they are.” These women “hope this will challenge the perception of rural women and traditional skills Worldwide.”

“Ubuhle” translates to “beauty” and describes “the shimmering quality of light on glass.” The art is created by using black fabric as a canvas for intricate beaded works of art. Some of the works featured at the exhibit are abstract, while others are figurative. The art is extremely detailed and takes a great deal of time -- a single panel can sometimes take more than 10 months to complete. The artists have made quite an impact on their community, as their artwork has created a route to financial independence for the women in KwaZulu-Natal. Be sure to visit this special exhibit to feel uplifted and exhilarated at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library now through September 17th.

Tune in on July 13th at noon to hear the interview with Stefanie Kohn on this special Iowa Arts Showcase broadcast!