Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence showcases a new form of textile art known as ndwango, developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Ubuhle [Uh-Buk-lay] means “beauty” in the Xhosa [Ho-Sa] and Zulu languages, and it also describes the shimmering quality of light on glass that for the Xhosa people has a particular spiritual significance. By stretching textile (ndwango) like a canvas, the artists transform the flat cloth into a contemporary art form colored with Czech glass beads. The artwork not only provides an emotional outlet for a community affected by HIV/AIDS and low employment, but allows a route for financial independence for these artists.
Ubhule Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence was developed by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, DC in cooperation with Curators Bev Gibson, Ubuhle Beads and James Green, and is organized for tour by International Arts and Artists
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website