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Woven telephone wire AIDS plate

Description: Wire basketry has a long tradition in South Africa. In the 1950s, telephone-wire baskets (or imbenge) became popular and have grown in popularity ever since. Among artists, the wire is known as "scooby-wire," or "scooby-do", or "scooby-dooby". The creation of a plate like this is very time and labor intensive. One of the most skilled artists, when working 20 hours a day, can create 2 or 3 works per month. The colors have traditional meanings and the imagery is often derived from dreams (messages from the ancestors) and religious ceremony. The objects in this collection were made by South African artisans during HIV/AIDS awareness workshops held during the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban, mid-July 2000. The imagery on the plate includes "Kill HIV," a village house (representing the threat to the community), AIDS ribbons, a casket, a tombstone with a cross, and human forms. The baskets made during the HIV/AIDS awareness workshops are significant because they gave the artists a voice and the opportunity to talk with others in a supportive environment, sharing ideas, stories, health concerns and general feelings about AIDS. The workshops were facilitated by the Durban Art Gallery, African Art Centre, Durban City Health Department, doctors, traditional Zulu medical practitioners and musical and theatrical performers from the Kuyusa Devoted Artists troupe. Traditional art, such as beadwork, baskets, and dolls, were chosen because they could send visual social messages through a familiar means. Zulu artists attending the workshops were asked to integrate AIDS messages into their artworks.
Collection: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Copyright: This file is licensed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Geography: Africa
Subjects: AIDS (Disease)
Wire craft
South Africa
Recycling (Waste, etc.)
Plates (Tableware)
Basket making

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