Tuesday, March 17 @ 2:30pm
1000 W. Broad Street | RM 239
image from: inkosazane.tumblr.com
BIO | Hlengi was only 12 when she first cemented her love affair with art and the world-renowned African Art Centre in Durban. Hlengi has changed the lives of many black people who would otherwise languish in poverty with artistic talents wasted without expecting any returns. She is an artist who specializes in beadwork and telephone wire baskets and a field worker who travels up hill and down dale, visiting rural and urban artists in Kwa-Zulu Natal travelling by buses or taxes in the good and the bad weather, to fulfil her dream to make sure that all the artist are getting help. She does training on beadwork and telephone wire baskets to local artist and to the disadvantage people in the rural areas.
As a girl, she visited the African Art Centre to sell her mother’s and her grandmother’s craftwork, as her mother needed the money to take care of her ten children. She was only 12 when she first made a beaded love letter and sold it to the African Art Centre, this remains part of the African Art Centre’s collection housed at the Kellie Campbell museum. The love letter was so beautiful and she was so proud of it that she did not want to part with it, but she had to replace her grandmother’s beads that she had used to make the necklace.
Now Hlengi’s life revolves around the artists and crafters from rural and urban areas. She loves her work because it gives her an opportunity to help people understand that as long as they have two functional hands, they can never starve. Hlengi was always encouraged to use her hands profitably. She was motivated by the two most important woman in her life – her late mother Nesta and grandmother MaMbeki Dube who used beans and seeds to make beads.
She also likes what she does because it contributes to the preservation of African cultures, customs and traditions and it also to make you understand more about ubuntu. For the past two decade she has been organizing the amagugu exhibition of traditional artefacts, where she will invite the museums and public gallery to select for their collection to make sure that our treasures stays in the country. She will do research and document the information behind the item to make sure is well presented to the public. She works closely with the museum as well as public galleried to make sure that they have the relevant information for their collection.
Hlengi is an author of the Zulu beadwork –talk with beads where she tells history of beads and messages behind the beadwork. She has been involved in many development projects locally and internationally, passing her skills in beadwork and also in telephone wire weaving. Each time she passes her skill she always adds the traditional technique and designs so that it’s remain unique.
Hlengiwe`s work is very organic. She always been highly aware of the world around her and lately she’s been focusing on the natural environment. She examines leaves, ferns, vines, flowers and seeds very closely. She collects material all the time and comes home from long walk with pockets bulging with specimens. She then experiments with ways to translate the forms into beadwork or designs telephone wire work with plant motifs.
Dube has worked closely with well-known artist Andrew Verster to design bespoke items that caused a clamour of excitement among art fundis. Hlengiwe was given the women of the year 2000 award under art and culture (sponsored by SABC 3 and Shoprite checkers) for the contribution to promoting African art and craft in KwaZulu-Natal. Hlengi is a founder of IFUNDISO TRADING specializes on designing, training, promoting art and craft from South Africa and works directly with the crafters. Ifundiso gives all people a working opportunity to earn a living