Modern and Contemporary Art

Timed Online Auction, 30 June - 10 July 2023

Crossing Frontiers: Art from the Eastern Cape

Sold for

ZAR 4 104
Lot 146
  • Keiskamma Art Project; Botanical Composition
  • Keiskamma Art Project; Botanical Composition

Lot Estimate
ZAR 3 000 - 5 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 4 104

About this Item

Keiskamma Art Project
South African 21st Century
Botanical Composition
appliqué and embroidery on textile by Nozeti Makhubalo
image size: 59,5 by 41cm, unframed


Founded in 2000, the Keiskamma Art Project in Hamburg, Eastern Cape, produces exquisite textile works, beadwork and wireworks which provide income and other forms of essential support for many families in the area through its cohesive network of women and youth. In particular, in the twenty years since its launch, the project has created a rich oeuvre of tapestries that allow viewers to enter into the conversations of a community of Xhosa women using art as a medium of expression and healing. Their works aid in the archiving of Eastern Cape rural collective memory and the preservation of oral history. The first of their monumental works, the Keiskamma Tapestry, is a large-scale work that was inspired by the famous Bayeux tapestry. It records aspects of the history of South Africa, with a focus on the Eastern Cape, over its 120 metres of length. It now forms part of the Parliament Collection in Cape Town. Other significant works are the Keiskamma Guernica, a South African reinterpretation of Pablo Picasso’s 1937 Guernica, and the Keiskamma Altarpiece, which takes Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece (dating from between 1512 and 1516) as its starting point.

The embroideries are a form of storytelling, symbolic micro-histories through which we are given privileged insight into the life of a community at once fragile and resilient. Making art through decades of extreme poverty, and the ravages of HIV/AIDS and Covid-19, the Keiskamma artists weave narratives of hope, at once documenting and transcending the harsh conditions in which their intricate tapestries are created.

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