Exposure for northern KZN crafters

2010-01-07 00:00

JUDY Jordan, curator of the Carnegie Art Gallery in Newcastle, has spent five years and spent R40 000 buying craft and art for the Northern KwaZulu-Natal Craft Exhibition which can be seen in the main gallery of the Tatham Art Gallery until January­ 24.

The display consists of works from the Carnegie’s permanent collection and others that were purchased by the Natal Arts Trust.

“It was very rewarding to meet the crafters and to buy work from them,” Jordan says of putting the exhibition together. “A lot of our crafters [in northern KwaZulu-Natal] haven’t received the attention that those in the south have. We hope that this exhibition will give them exposure and possibly even some orders.”

The craft on show was sourced from people in Ladysmith, the Northern Drakensberg, Nongoma, Msinga and the north west part of KwaZulu-Natal, including Newcastle, Vryheid and Dundee.

Items were made by independent crafters as well as artists and crafters who are affiliated to Ardmore­ Ceramic­ Art, Baskets for Africa, the ELC Arts and Crafts Centre in Rorke’s Drift, and Senzokuhle.

Jordan is concerned, however, that some craft skills may be lost forever­ if action isn’t taken to encourage crafters to continue making items.

“I had to order a lot of work because people often think that it’s not worthwhile making something that no one will buy,” she said. “We could be facing a vacuum in some crafts. It’s a real tragedy.

“If the government could put money­ into warehousing craft it would encourage crafters to make items which could be sold later on.”

Jordan is also concerned that some crafters are being exploited.

“Many crafters are not comfortable travelling to market, so they rely on third parties, some of whom exploit them. We need to support the crafters by buying [directly] from them,” Jordan­ said.

To view the exhibition, visit the Tatham Art Gallery from 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday. • Inquiries: 033 392 2801.

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