Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela, My Sea, My Sister, My Tears, 2011. Glass beads sewn onto fabric. 24 x 24 ⅜ inches

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence

January 21, 2018 - March 31, 2018

Hodge Galleries

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence showcases a new form of textile art known as ndwango, developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Established in 1999 by two women—Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela and Bev Gibson—on a former sugar plantation, the Ubuhle [pronounced Uh-Buk-lay] began as a way of creating employment for rural women combining traditional skills—like beadwork—and making them profitable.

Ubuhle means “beauty” in the Xhosa [Ho-Sa] and Zulu languages and describes the shimmering quality of light on glass, which has a particular spiritual significance for the Xhosa people. By stretching textile (ndwango) like a canvas, the artists transform the flat cloth into a contemporary art form colored with Czech glass beads. The artwork provides an emotional outlet for a community affected by HIV/AIDS and low employment, as well as a route for financial independence for the artists.

Ubhule Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence was developed by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, DC in cooperation with Curators Bev Gibson, Ubuhle Beads, and James Green, and is organized for tour by International Arts and Artists.

Exhibition Info


From the Exhibition

  • Nontanga Manguthsane. African Crucifixion, n.d.
    Glass beads sewn onto fabric. 177 1/2 × 275 3/4 × 16 inches (450.9 × 700.4 × 40.6 cm). The Ubuhle Private Collection & Private Collection

  • Zondile Zondo. Flowers for the Gods, 2012. Glass beads sewn onto fabric. 51 × 21 3/8 × 2 in. (129.5 × 54.3 × 5.1 cm). The Ubuhle Private Collection.

  • Bongiswa Ntobela. Funky Bull, 2006. Glass beads sewn onto fabric. 49 1/4 × 84 in. (125.1 × 213.4 cm). The Ubuhle Private Collection.

  • Thando Ntobela, South African. Ankoli Bull, 2013. Glass beads sewn onto fabric. 50 1/2 × 67 7/8 × 2 in. (128.3 × 172.4 × 5.1 cm). Private Collection.

  • Zondile Zondo. My Mother's Peach Tree, 2012. Glass beads sewn onto fabric. 21 3/4 × 21 1/4 × 1 in. (55.2 ×

    54 × 2.5 cm). The Ubuhle Private Collection.

  • Zondile Zondo. I am ill, I still see Color and Beauty: Jamludi The Red Cow, 2012. Glass beads sewn onto fabric. 49 × 64 1/4 × 2 in. (124.5 × 163.2 × 5.1 cm). Private Collection.

William Kidd, American, b. 1961. Crusty Vase, 2003. Earthenware. Promised gift of Sidney Swidler

The Art of Containment – Vessels from the Sidney Swidler Collection

September 16, 2017 - March 18, 2018

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

A retired architect, Sidney Swidler’s fascination with ceramics collecting was influenced by his work as a designer. Swidler has amassed more than 1,000 contemporary ceramic objects since 1984—the vessel form being one of his favorites. He recently donated over 100 pieces from his large collection to the FIA. Whether traditionally inspired or uniquely modern, the objects in The Art of Containment: Vessels from the Sidney Swidler Collection illustrate the versatility of the vessel.   

Many of the ceramics in this exhibition feature special glazes, experimental firing techniques, and abstract interpretations of the vessel form. For instance, the mesmerizing bursts of shimmering color that dot the surface of this vessel were created by using a crystalline glaze. This special effects glaze is made primarily of particles of zinc oxide and silica. These two ingredients, along with others, are mixed with water and applied to the vessel in a thick paste. While at peak temperature in the kiln, a chemical reaction takes place between the zinc oxide and the silica, forming seed crystals. Once the object starts to cool, the crystals grow and take a circular shape. 

Exhibition Info


From the Exhibition

  • Judi Tavill, American, b. 1968. Carved Sculptural Vessel, 2012. Wheel thrown and hand carved stoneware. 9 1/4 x 5 inches. Gift of Sidney Swidler, 2017.76

  • Brett Freund, American, b. 1983. Gem Pot, 2015. Porcelain. 4 3/8 x 7 inches. Gift of Sidney Swidler, 2017.87

  • John Parker Glick, American, 1938 - 2017. Covered Jar, n.d. Stoneware. Gift of Sidney Swidler, 2017.95

  • Lars Voltz, American. Bowl, n.d. Stoneware. Gift of Sidney Swidler, 2017.88

  • Adam Egenolf, American, b. 1979. Fluted Vase, ca. 2009. Porcelain. 7 3/8 x 4 inches. Gift of Sidney Swidler, 2017.116 

Utagawa Hiroshige, Japanese, 1797–1858. Harbor Scene, early–mid 19th century. Woodblock on paper. 13 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches. Gift of Mrs. Ralph Harman Booth, 1942.8

Rhythms and Experiences: Everyday Life in 19th-century Japanese Prints

January 13, 2018 - April 15, 2018

Graphics Gallery

There are two intriguing sides to the highly popular works on paper created by Japanese artists in the 19th century. On one hand, Japanese artists like Ichiryusai Hiroshige and Takahashi Hiroaki were adept at capturing the cultural values of their people; on the other, 19th-century European collectors were looking to expand their cultural experiences and tap into the exoticism of Japanese tradition as well as new trade opportunities. Rhythms and Experiences: Everyday Life in 19th-Century Japanese Prints features works by some of Japan’s most prominent print artists. This exhibition, curated by Dr. Sarah Lippert, associate professor of art history at the University of Michigan-Flint, focuses on the simple elegance of the quotidian in Japanese life, and explores why artists and collectors in Europe fell in love with Japonisme, a cult of Japanese aesthetic tradition. These works teach us about what was valued both in and outside of Japan in its everyday rhythms, from the quaintness of village life to the beloved elements of Japan’s natural features.

The Graphics Gallery is sponsored by


Exhibition Info


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