Amita Makan Nomalungelo: Threads to Freedom | | Art in South Africa
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Nomalungelo: Threads to Freedom

curated by Brenton Maart, The Mess Hall, Constitution Hill.
13 March - 4 April 2014

Photographs by James Fox

Phatha Phatha: For Miriam Makeba and Dorothy Masuku 2014
Embroidery wih silk and metallic thread on silk organza with Swarovski crystals, sequins and vintage saris
(156 x 123 x 24cm) (recto and verso)

At its simplest level, Amita Makan's exhibition "Nomalungelo: Threads to Freedom" may be read as a series of eight embroidered portraits, book-ended chronologically by "Loose Ends" (2009), a portrait of the artist's deceased mother, and "My Black President" (2014), a portrait of deceased musical legend Brenda Fassie. Between these are a series of portraits of Miriam Makeba and Dorothy Masuku, two further goddesses of South African music, along with self-portraits of the artist.

What holds together this seemingly disparate collection is: the subjects are all women; they are all brought to life using the threads and swatches of sari's belonging to the artist's mother; they are certainly all divas, and objects of worship; and they are all - in various sectors whether public or private, social or domestic, local or international - vocal and pioneering advocates of the right to freedom.

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