Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ndebele Mural Art and the Commodification of Ethnic Style during the Age of Apartheid and Beyond
by Boyd, Craniv Ambolia, M.A., Freie Universitaet Berlin (Germany), 2017, 123; 10609294
Abstract (Summary)

The women of the Ndebele, an ethnic minority living in the rural North of South Africa, decorate their homes in colorful geometric paintings. This thesis retraces how Ndebele mural art was "discovered" by white South African modernist artists at the beginning of the twentieth century. By examining their paintings and photographs, it shows how their specialist interest contributed to Ndebele villages becoming popular tourist destinations during the apartheid era.

This thesis furthermore demonstrates how the format of the glossy coffee-table book facilitated global exposure and appreciation of the Ndebele "style," and eventually led to its commodification as an ethnic brand. Finally, it evidences that despite this appropriation, the designs of Ndebele women are part of a rich cultural heritage that continues to fascinate artists and designers worldwide.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wendl, Dr. Tobias
School: Freie Universitaet Berlin (Germany)
School Location: Germany
Source: MAI 56/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: African Studies, Art history, Womens studies
Keywords: African Arts, Apartheid, Commodity Fetish, Cultural Patronase, Murals, Ndebele
Publication Number: 10609294
ISBN: 978-1-369-81092-9
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