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. Ubuhle [Uh-Buk-lay] means “beauty” in the Xhosa [Ho-Sa] and Zulu languages, and it also describes the shimmering quality of light on glass that for the Xhosa people has a particular spiritual significance. 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 not only provides an emotional outlet for a community affected by HIV/AIDS and low employment, but allows a route for financial independence for these 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.

International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions and the public. Visit www.artsandartists.org.



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.