Intellectual Property Exhibition
This is a collaborative exhibition, drawing on the talents of several individuals and collectives. Namely: Crushed Lemon, DUT Work Integrated Learning Fine Art Students, HIVAN (UKZN) and the Ubunye Crafters, Mandy Brockbank, Refugee Social Services, Umcebo Design; Wendy Chatterton and the Ukhamba Crafters and Woza Moya.
Umcebo Design is firmly focused on being a trend setter and market leader in the fields of South African art, craft and design. We use creativity as a commercially viable means of empowering marginalised community members. In this way we create opportunities, overcome barriers and generate sustainable income for crafters and their families.
Umcebo Design has a long and established relationship of working in collaboration with other: private artists; small businesses; NGO's; co-ops; institutions; crafters and community groups. This exhibition represents us showing our work, as well as the work of our various partners and friends, in a group exhibition, which we feel shows the power of individual and group creativity. Intellectual property is a celebration of local creativity, and a call for buyers and the public at large, to look at buying local bespoke work, as opposed to consuming Chinese mass produced decor and artwork. This work represents a challenge, and a creative celebration.
I am an artist living near Sodwana Bay Northern KZN, I live amongst the Mbila Tribe in an area called Ezigneni next to Lake Sibaya, I studied fine art at Wits Technicon and have a diploma in fine art.
Besides painting canvases I paint everything from Buoys, tablecloths, toy boxes, teacups to chairs! All my work is recycled and I generally call the art a “wreck-creation” i will be putting a hand painted chair on the exhibition, they are old chairs that I reupholster with canvas and paint! We make mirrors from Aluminium teapots and pans that have been thrown away! We also make mirrors from discarded toilet seats and driftwood and pebbles!
I am trying to teach the locals around me to use these “free and found” items to make utilitarian art and also a living as we all know how hard jobs are too come by! We sell the products in my shop/ gallery in Sodwana Bay.
Refugee Social Services:
During the course of the art program with Refugee Social Services, we have focused on recycled materials, and found them a natural marriage with the work of Gustav Klimt. His style and textures immediately lend themselves to these materials. In addition, we found that the subject matter of Gustav Klimt's work addresses the issues of belonging and separation.
We found this particularly pertinent to the plight of refugees who find themselves in a new culture, with a new language and new values. The world is also currently experiencing economic troubled times, so often the Refugees arrival is not welcomed, as they are seen as competition for scarce employment and other opportunities. By making a collection of tapestries inspired by Gustav Klimt, we felt we could draw in the audience and get them to know the refugee artists as creative and inspiring human beings. This would allow them to comfortably ask questions and to interrogate the lives, emotions and aspirations of an ever-growing number of people, and to come to know, appreciate and value them as fellow human beings.
-Robin Opperman and Jackie Sewpersad (Umcebo Design).
Ubunye Co-Operative in collaboration with HIVAN (UKZN):
The Ubunye Co-Operative is focused on eco-tourism and cultural heritage. Ubunye is a community-based tourism initiative established to create ways for the Mzimela community to participate in and reap benefits from the tourism network of the Zululand Coastal Heritage Route. The project takes care to create opportunities for visitors to the area to immerse themselves in the authentic experience of contemporary Zulu life. The Ubunye Co-Operative generates income for the largely unemployed youth and young adults living in the area as well as for the local high school students.
The Co-Operative is situated close to both the Ngoye and Dlinza forests. Ngoye forest is one of only three forests in Africa boasting such a richness and diversity of plants and bird life.
The tapestry we created for this exhibition represents the Mzimela environment as well as our heritage. We have used traditional design and beading skills. The aloe depicted on the tapestry is iconic of the Zululand area. Aloes grow abundantly in the region and are used for a variety of medicinal and other practical purposes. The tapestry drew its inspiration from a photo taken of an aloe being used as a washing line for a local household. The colours and shapes used in the beading of the tapestry are symbolic of Mzimela Tribal Authority with its rolling hills, bird life and natural forests.
The Ubunye Co-Operative was launched on the 19th of February 2011 in the Tribal Authority of Mzimela, which is located close to Mtunzini and Eshowe in Zululand. The membership of the Ubunye Co-Operative is largely comprised of women and youth. The co-op has been built and nurtured with the generous support of the National Development Agency (NDA) and the Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking (HIVAN) based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. For further information on HIVAN please see the website www.hiv911.org.za and the NDA website on www.nda.org.za
Ubunye Co-Operative Contact Details:
Tel: 072 392 5830 / 079 256 2430
Woza Moya (‘come, Spirit of Change’ in isiZulu) is the Income Generation project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. The project provides an income to roughly 300 crafters (including potters, beaders, sewers, crocheters, fabric painters and wireworkers) who are supported by the funds raised through craft sales in the well-known craft store. The crafters are all local community members who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and are living under poverty. Woza Moya assists with training patients and those affected by HIV/AIDS in the manufacture, product development and marketing of crafts, enabling them to use their skills to break out of the poverty cycle and create an income.
Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust is a multifaceted HIV/AIDS project that exists to provide unconditional love to all infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in a practical, sustainable way. Situated in Hillcrest, in KwaZulu-Natal, the centre serves several impoverished communities in the Valley of 1000 Hills region – one of the epicentres of the world’s HIV pandemic with estimated HIV-infection rates of up to 40-60% of the population in some communities.
Over the past 21 years the Centre has expanded its suite of projects and programmes year on year, always in response to the needs on the ground in the communities we serve. Where a need has been witnessed, a plan has been put into place to respond to that need in a way that uplifts and empowers, rather than demoralises.
Woza Moya Manager, Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust.
DUT Work Integrated Learners:
DUT final year students, Tessa Hadlow, Laura Leigh Matthews and Emmaline Tomalin, under the guidance of HOD of the DUT Fine Art Department, Tony Starkey, collaborated with Umcebo Design, on an installation of recycled and reclaimed furniture and decor. The display includes a combination of recycled, reclaimed and up cycled materials, that reference contemporary design and decor trends, and hope to encourage designers and buyers to look at this growing trend in the decor and design market. The students have brought their fine art traditions to this project, and blurred the lines between conceptual and functional, and this work embodies the essence of the debate around Intellectual Property, and the need to source local designers work.