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Current Exhibitions

View the invitation Keiskamma Art Project

Exhibition and book launch at the UCT Irma Stern Museum

It is fitting that the UCT Irma Stern Museum in Rosebank should host the Cape Town book launch and exhibition of 'The Keiskamma Art Project - restoring hope and livelihoods' by Professor Brenda Schmahmann as the late Irma Stern had a deep interest in the Eastern Cape and its peoples, painting many of her works in that region.

The exhibition will run from 18 to 25 February and will feature the Intsikizi works. The launch on 18 February will include a talk by founder of the project, Carol Hofmeyr, and a walkabout of the exhibition.
Ceramicist, embroidery designer and one of the project's managers, Cebo Mvubu will join Carol as will sales assistant Nomakhaya Dada.

The Keiskamma Project will also be the subject of a lecture by author Professor Brenda Schmahmann on Monday 20 February at UCT at 6pm and Kate Crane Biggs of Culture Connect will also host a walkabout of Museum shows on Saturday 25 February.

The Keiskamma online shop will be officially launched on Tuesday 21 February at 6pm in the Coral Room at the UCT Irma Stern Museum.

THE KEISKAMMA ART PROJECT, begun by Carol Hofmeyr in 2000, provides opportunities to over a hundred people in the tiny Eastern Cape settlement of Hamburg, South Africa, to support themselves and their families. Members of this remarkable project are best known for the compelling and exquisite large-scale artworks they make collaboratively which include embroidery and needlework. Several have been exhibited internationally and a number are in important collections - amongst them the Keiskamma Tapestry which is on permanent loan to Parliament.

Author Brenda Schmahmann conducted extensive and meticulous research and fieldwork to produce a book that reveals the history as well as the motivations and ideas that underpin the making of its works. Magnificently and comprehensively illustrated, this volume is the first to be devoted to the Keiskamma Art Project and is destined to be the authoritative book on this remarkable project.

Many of the Keiskamma Art Project's large-scale works rework well-known paintings and other art from the West, such as the Bayeux Tapestry, Picasso's Guernica and the Ghent Altarpiece. But they do so in such a way that they highlight issues of concern to people in South Africa. Engaging with the histories of Xhosa speakers and the long-term effects of colonisation, the works are also concerned with twenty-first century challenges such as the impact of HIV/AIDS or the threats posed to the natural environment and flora and fauna within it.

Carol Hofmeyr emphasizes how collective work can enable significant improvements in people's lives: 'Over the 16 years we have worked together, many volunteers have taught and shared skills and we have built a close and caring community of embroiderers, designers, artists and friends - a collaboration that has become global. A group of over 100 women and a few men who are uniquely skilled in making art using textiles and especially embroidery shows that when people work together a miracle of transformation can occur.'

The book is valuable not only to art historians, but is an inspiration to anyone with an interest in the visual arts or rural development in Africa. Published by Print Matters it will be on sale at the Museum and is also available at all good bookstores.

Details: Book Launch and exhibition: Saturday 18 February at the UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cecil Road, Rosebank at 11h00 for 11h30

Exhibition runs from 18-25 Feb. The museum is closed on Sunday

Enquiries: Mary van Blommestein 021 685 5686

Other events:

Monday 20 February at 6pm: UCT Centre for Extra-Mural Studies presents Professor Brenda Schmahmann speaking on The Keiskamma Art Project-Restoring Hope and Livelihoods at Kramer Building, Lecture Theatre 2, UCT Middle Campus. Bookings can be made by phoning 021 650 2888 or e-mailing:

Tuesday 21 February: Launch of the Keiskamma online shop in the Coral Room, UCT Irma Stern Museum at 6pm enquiries

Saturday 25 February: Culture Connect walkabout

Sorrel Hofmann, Untitled, monotype on arches, 50 x 65cm Sorrel Hofmann exhibition


11th February to 4th March 2017

Opening by Andrew Lamprecht

Walkabout with the artist: TBC

The artworks that comprise this exhibition are the product of an on-going research project that Sorrel Hofmann has been engaged with for a number of years: an examination of the place and space occupied by women on the African continent. Specifically, these works, made in Cape Town and in retrospect, reflect a residency undertaken a little over a year ago by the artist at Sefrou, an ancient town that lies at the edge of the Atlas Mountains, 30 kilometres southeast of Fez in Morocco.

The exhibition consists of a large series of paintings, drawings, prints and sculptural installations that reflect on her experiences of non-touristic travel through the Sahara and over the Atlas Mountains as well as extensive discussions with women she met with, in an attempt to understand the position that they occupy and have occupied in Moroccan history. Hofmann aims non-judgemental in her approach but is at pains to understand what goes on “behind high walls”, reflecting on the tradition of seclusion of women that still continues in Morocco, despite recent reforms.

Arabs, Berbers and Jews have co-existed with mutual respect and toleration for over a millennium in Morocco. That this culture still exists today, despite external pressures, is of great significance to the artist, and toleration on co-existence is a significant sub-theme running through the exhibition. Hoffman has broken the bounds of the gallery space and her sculptural installations can be found in the Gardens of the Irma Stern Museum.

The work of Sorrel Hofmann are challenging and display a unique visual language, playing between abstraction and representation, always concerned with margins and those who choose compassion and tolerance over force and bigotry.

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