Hlabisa Baskets Publication Launch

Date posted: 15 March 2022

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Master weaver Angeline Masuku photographed next to her basket featured in the Wits Art Museum's Seen, Heard and Valued: 40 Years of the Standard Bank Art Collection exhibition. Photographed by Francois Lion-Cachet.

On 17 February 2022, master weaver Angeline Masuku and her daughter Nokukhanya Khumalo joined the curatorial team for a three-day long engagement, touring museums and galleries in Pretoria and Johannesburg namely the Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History, Javett-UP Art Centre, Wits Art Museum and Johannesburg Art Gallery. The tours focused on Zulu basketry in museum collections and served to motivate the exchange of expertise and insight on the care and conservation of these baskets. The curatorial team facilitated the introduction of Angeline and Nokukanya, who is also a weaver, to Gauteng-based curators at these institutions who care for such basketry and other grass-based objects. Following the tours, the curatorial team hosted the curators and colleagues from Constitution Hill and the Gay and Lesbian Archive for an intimate lunch at the Constitutional Court followed by a walkabout of the CCAC and a vote of thanks by Angeline Masuku.

Ditsong Museum of Cultural History

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The Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History hosted the CCAC curatorial team and Hlabisa artists on Thursday 17th February in Pretoria. Tersia Perregil, the Heritage Assets Manager, and Elias Mampheko, the Junior Curator in Anthropology and Archaeology, took us through their expansive basketry collection, emphasizing their duty to preserve cultural heritage.

Javett-UP Art Centre

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Later that day, the team at Javett-UP Art Centre gave the curatorial team and Hlabisa artists a tour of their current exhibitions namely Handle with Care, Interfacing New Heavens,Gold of Africa and Word Woes, an exhibition by CCAC artist Willem Boshoff. Here the Javett team is seen holding copies of our Hlabisa baskets Art & Justice monograph (2021). Photographed by Francois Lion-Cachet.

Wits Art Museum (WAM)

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On Friday, 18th February, Wits Art Museum’s Senior Curator Julia Charlton and Anitra Nettleton hosted the Hlabisa artists and CCT curatorial team for a tour of their exhibition titled Seen, Heard and Valued: 40 years of the Standard Bank Art Collection. Angeline Masuku was photographed alongside her basket which was featured in the exhibition and noted she was happy that her work is well cared for and appreciated.

Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG)

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Later that morning, Philippa van Straaten, the registrar at JAG, took us through one of their artwork storage rooms to look at their collection of smaller baskets and one large basket currently on display in the gallery. Angeline assessed the basket on display (pictured above) and determined the possible conservation that it may require.

Launch at the Constitutional Court

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On Saturday, the 19th of February, the curatorial team and Hlabisa artists hosted some of the curators and colleagues from our engagements for lunch in the private areas of the Constitutional Court building followed by a tour of the CCAC that focused on the Zulu basketry currently on display in the public gallery.

Many thanks to Ditsong Museums, Javett-UP Art Centre, Wits Art Museum and Johannesburg Art Gallery for participating in our three-day event and graciously welcoming our Hlabisa-based artists. We look forward to working together in the future. We would also like to thank Angeline and Nokukhanya for joining us in Johannesburg and making this event possible.

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The CCAC is owned, managed and cared for by the Constitutional Court Trust