COLLECTION

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FOUNDING STATEMENT

The founders of the collection believe that the individual genius in all of us is best expressed through works of ART. In our regional context that may include a simple message sent to a faraway lover labouring deep underground in a Johannesburg gold mine.

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A Love Letter.
A beautiful story written with glass beads brought to this part of the world from Bohemia or Venice in the1890’s.
A poem in glass of loneliness, anger and passion, maybe.

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Or an expertly carved regal head, the finial of a Medicine Gourd, fashioned to negotiate with the ancestors on healing and hope.

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The maddening statement in wood that speaks of loss,
frustration, anger and hopelessness released by the artist from
deep within a tree or beaded
onto a Cloth of Memory.

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A Dance to rouse the ancestors to take note and action.
The special beats, sounds and harmonies of movements and
Instruments to transport us out of our bodies and closer
to Africa and our other selves.

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Every stone, rock, tree, every blade of grass and every living
thing has within it secret voices that guide the artist in the revelation.
It is our aim to spread the news and invite you in.

COLLECTION POLICY & FOCUS

We are architects with a particular love and interest in and for all things creative. How they are made, their beauty, their function.

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As our passion and interest grew, we began to look deeper into the objects and got closer and closer to the makers.

One learns about the meanings of things to the makers, the recipients and the wider public.

Hlupekile Mchunu
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Most of the works are simple objects made by rural people for use in their every day life. A life that is deeply influenced by local traditions.

It is always respectful to the household, the community and the ancestors.

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The needs are modest, the environment is balanced and relationships are harmonious.
It is respect, love, care and beauty that regulate life. Times change, new influences invade, welcome or unwelcome.
Other traditions are absorbed or repelled.
New cultural environments form in urban areas. Formal education, new tools, new materials, new ideas.

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Money and consumerism rear their ugly heads and the world becomes small.
There is the constant traffic of ideas between the rural and urban areas. In both directions.

Many of the old ways of doing and making things and the materials employed are forgotten. Yet the artists keep on creating and telling new and old stories and exploring the numerous possibilities created by new technologies, materials and ideas.
We love this Transitional Art and have built much of the collection around it.
Art at the cutting edge of mindboggling change.

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The policy when out collecting in the field, is to introduce ourselves in an area and explain our mission.
Some sellers are proud that their items will be displayed and curated in a museum. Others have changed their lives and have no more need of them.
Many of the works we own not because they are specifically special in terms of the collection, but because the seller was in dire need of funds for school fees, a wedding, a funeral, etc.

To us however all items are precious and are a part of our story. The focus on the collection is on the life of the ordinary residents of our region, what they make, why and how using the materials, skill and influences available and prevalent at the time.
Homesteads are a fragile structure, more often for different reasons and not much survives. So we are particularly pleased that we have been able to preserve and celebrate this history.

STORE & CURATE

We have an open storage system as we believe that it is in its totality that one experiences the sheer genius of it all.

We want everything to look its best and because we are architects, we have tried to make the spaces compliment the artworks and vice versa.

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TOURS

Our tours are led by extremely spirited guides who themselves are familiar with many of the traditions and objects on display and are also part of the creative world that is forever continuing to produce more and more amazing things. For those interested to visit the areas and meet some of the people who initiated the work we can arrange dedicated tours. Self-guided tours will soon be possible via a downloadable PDF.

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