Meeting Lambani Textile Artists

Awhile ago, while doing research for an art installation project, I met these textile artists who work for themselves - who create their gorgeous art mainly for self-consumption and not for commerce. Their reluctance to make a piece for an outsider was reflected in the entire conversation - as they quoted a million reasons for not wanting my money. These women work when they have time, alongside their daily household duties. They create because they love to. They create for the ones they love. They create because it gives them pride. The strength of their reasons and values is quite likely the reason why their work is so beautiful. The amount of all the needlework that goes into a piece requires many days of work in addition to the knowhow required to craft it and  the meticulous imagination of an engineer proceeding without drawings. Sharp eyesight and discipline are  of course is taken for granted! In the home of one of the artists, I met the whole family.  The lady in the first image created a skirt for her little granddaughter. No doubt the girl would soon outgrow the skirt and it might be worn only a few times despite the hard work that went into creating it, but the women believed that creating it for the child was far more valuable than creating such an article for sale! A completely different world of values - both delightful and refreshing - ensconced silently within a world of 'modern' art that is measured mainly in financial terms. May these little tribal capsules of isolated values remain safe from and unadulterated by the values of the 'modern' world for a long long time! [slideshow] In the end, I walked away empty-handed without any contract with them to create a large piece of art. Simply because they were not interested in the few thousand dollars on offer. Walking away empty-handed never felt so good! jm Sep 2012

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