Creativity and Crisis

Nokuphiwa Gedze, Embroiderer, Hamburg, South Africa
Nokuphiwa Gedze is a South African embroidery designer with the Keiskamma Art Project. One of the projects involves utilizing imagery from Pablo Picasso’s Guernica to express the impact of HIV/AIDS in the Hamburg community through embroidery. Gedze was also the design embroiderer for a songbook created by the Keiskamma Art Project for their music academy.

David Gere, Co-Curator, The A.R.T. Show, Los Angeles, California
David Gere is the director of the UCLA Art and Global Health Center. His work as an AIDS activist has led him to collaborate with artists around the world to “unleash the transformative power of the arts.” Gere is involved with The A.R.T. (Antiretroviral Treatment) Show, which will be featured at the Folklife Festival. Composed of works by South Africans, the show addresses issues related to treatment access, health assistance, drug company profiteering, and how best to support Africa’s AIDS orphans.

Unathi Meslane, Keiskamma Trust, Hamburg, South Africa
Unathi Meslane is the community and public relations coordinator for the Keiskamma Trust, located in Hamburg, South Africa. The Trust involves a group of women who create goods using traditional crafts and also includes the Keiskamma Health program, which runs a treatment center for patients; three Orphan and Vulnerable Children centers with more than 400 children; a Music Academy that offers music lessons to more than fifty children in the Hamburg area; and The A.R. T. Show.

Beauty Ndlovu, Beaded Doll Maker, Cato Ridge, South Africa
Beauty Ndlovu is a beaded doll maker originally from Zimbabwe. She works with the Siyazama Project in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa where she makes her beaded dolls, as well as designs and paints candles. The project was created to spread awareness about the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Kwazulu-Natal utilizing traditional crafts as both a visual and metaphoric symbol of expression and education.

Lobolile Ximba, Beaded Doll Maker, Muden, South Africa
Lobolile Ximba is a beaded doll maker, born in Msinga, South Africa, where she learned how to make the dolls from her mother. Ximba taught the trade of doll making to those in her community, including her six daughters. One of the original participants in the Siyazama Project, she was honored with a gold medal at the FNB VITA Craft Now Awards in 2002 for her exceptional craft work.. Ximba uses the red ribbon associated with AIDS in her work to represent the variety of ways in which the virus has affected her native community.