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.
|Advisor:||Wendl, Dr. Tobias|
|School:||Freie Universitaet Berlin (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|
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