Constitution Hill, Johannesburg, South Africa, a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy, will be celebrating its 25 years since the constitution was signed December 1996.  

As part of the commemoration, an enormous retrospective exhibition, ‘Death and Resurrection’, is underway to showcase the prolific artworks that the Keiskamma Art Project have produced over two decades which explore the fabric of Xhosa narrative, South African and African society, unravelling and re-stitching histories into symbolically charged tapestries that read like storybooks.

Pictured above: Artists working on the Keiskamma Altarpiece outside the studio in Hamburg, Eastern Cape.

Through cutting and stitching, simultaneously, socio-political inquiries, responses and experiences of plagues and pandemics, humanity and hope are brought to the fore in engaging needlework and textile which are recognised for their place in art history on the African continent and in the international art community.

This exhibition will also be a way of celebrating those who have shared skills and built extraordinary relationships with the community of Hamburg in the Eastern Cape.  Exchanges of talent and trust have been at the heart of a generous interchange between the artists and a global community. 

Pictured above: Artists laying out the sequence of the panels for the Keiskamma Tapestry.

This retrospective exhibition foregrounds the traditional oral histories and acts as a loudhailer through which to amplify the stories and experiences by, and for the people who are otherwise not heard. Through simultaneous narration and documentation we hope to foster a safe environment to promote healing and sharing to bring people and diverse communities together.” says Azu Nwagbogu, world renowned curator and art collector, Founder and Director of African Artist’s Foundation, ex Interim Director/Head Curator of the Zietz Museum of Contemporary Art, Founder and Director of LagosPhoto Festival, creator of Art Base Africa 

Pictured above: Azu Nwagbogu world-renowned curator and art collector @azubogu


Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy

To realise the dream of bringing this exhibition, which promises to be one of the best exhibitions South Africa has ever seen, to Constitution Hill in 2022, the Keiskamma Art Project, is reaching out to the public for support through a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy.

“For 20 years, we have seen first-hand the magic that is possible through community. The Keiskamma Art Project is a testament to this.  It is for this reason that we look to crowd-funding to make this vision a magnificent reality of world-class standards to be shared and marvelled by all.” – says Pippa Hetherington, curator Death and Resurrection. 

Pictured above: A rendering of the exhibition space showcasing the Keiskamma Guernica, made in 2010, mixed media including appliqué, embroidery, felt, wire, blankets, metal, beads.

Since the launch of the campaign, over R246 047.18 has already been raised towards the fundraising target of R1 234 000, which is needed by 30th November 2021 to secure the date of the exhibition and start production.

The project has so far secured generous donations from Constitution Hill, Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC), Kathy Robins, Wendy Ackerman and a number of anonymous donations.


“We truly believe that this is an opportunity to challenge the perception of contemporary African art and showcase a collective on African soil and then for it to travel. Apart from the national and international impact of providing insight to social, health and art intersections, the visibility of the Keiskamma Art Project is vital for the knock-on effect of the sustainability of the artmaking and the livelihoods of the artists.” – says Michaela Howse, project manager Keiskamma Art Project

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