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New beadwork from Eastern Namibia.

Beadwork has been a traditional craft practised by San women across Southern Africa for millennia. Since the opening up of Namibia to tourism after independence in 1990, new products and styles have been developed among the different San communities for sale at various outlets including the Namibia Crafts Centre in Windhoek.

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This year an exciting new design has been developed by a group of twelve women on Drimiopsis, one of the San resettlement farms in Eastern Namibia, supported by Karin le Roux, an art teacher now running the Omba Arts Trust based at the Namibia Crafts Centre.

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Karin first visited the farm in February, and found the women working in a big vegetable garden. "Drawing the local foods thus became our first artistic exercise," Karin explains, "accompanied by lots of laughter as this was a new form of creative expression for most members of the group." They soon embarked on other themes unique to San art, and learnt how to transfer their images onto cloth with a variety of colourful beads.

The first batch was framed and sold out at an art exhibition in Cape Town, and now orders are coming in from places like Johannesburg and Norway. New products are also being developed on the other San resettlement farms in the area, through a partnership between the Livelihood Support Project of the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia, Omba Arts Trust, Rossing Foundation and Spanish Cooperation.

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Enjoy the work of three members of the Drimiopsis group on these pages!

Photos by Karin le Roux
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:From craft to art
Author:Frank, Liz
Publication:Sister Namibia
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:6NAMI
Date:Aug 1, 2008
Words:264
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