By Jeoffrey Mukubi
THE I’Khoba Textiles Farm Project has opened their sixth annual Christmas in July exhibition at the Omba Gallery.
The exhibition began on the 19 July and it will run until 31 August.
This year, the exhibition is taking place as a collaboration between Mildred Kehrmann, Heidi-Marie Lacheiner-Kuhn and the I’Khoba artists.
It focuses on Eclectic Folk as the theme, by celebrating an array of ethnic groups and different traditions from around the world.
The I’Khoba Textiles Farm Project has also collaborated with different craft groups from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Kenya, to showcase traditions from around the world.
The exhibition is a delight, and one of the exhibits is a traditional Otjiherero dress, appliquéd on cushion covers. The influence of the Ndebele culture is also on display, but with a modern twist, in terms of the costume jewellery being exhibited. There is also traditional soapstone from Kenya and customary beadwork from Zimbabwe, with an influence of Western folk tradition, by showing reindeer and a series of nativity scenes. There are also plenty of baskets on display from talented artists in Southern Africa, which include high-end fashion colour combination cushion covers, handbags and wall decorations, hand-woven from T-shirt off-cuts. “We have crafted an original line of interior decorations, as well as handmade toys and Christmas ornaments,” said Kehrmann, who is the manager of the I’Khoba Textiles Farm Project.“As with our first few Christmas in July exhibitions, we are incorporating a range of tablecloths, cushion covers and bags. We are introducing new colour combinations, symbols and patterns for this year’s Eclectic Folk theme.” Each year, artists from the I’Khoba project deliberately push the limits, to style a fresh collection of products and to showcase African handwork and crafts from a different viewpoint, while keeping with their ambition of recycling and sustainability. The range of Christmas-themed decorations and ornaments include items creatively made from old beverage cans and lids, as well as re-used plastics, espresso capsules and water bottles. “The idea for a Christmas exhibition in July came to life, as it is a great opportunity to exhibit Namibian Christmas traditions and symbols to visitors at the peak of the tourist season, in addition to presenting Namibians with some early Christmas ideas and presents,” Kehrmann added. “For example, while Christmas plants in the Northern Hemisphere include the traditional Christmas tree and mistletoe, Namibians have whitethorn trees and dried agave stems as decorations, all of which are on display and beautifully decorated at this exhibition.” The I’Khoba Textiles Farm Project blossomed out of a hobby into a fully-fledged business 34 years ago. To begin with, three Lacheiner sisters – Karin, Ute and Heidi – produced children’s clothing for the annual Windhoek Christmas Market. Based on the enormous demand for their handmade clothes, and recognising the lack of opportunities for rural women to work or create an income, they employed the wives of farmworkers on the family farm in northern Namibia, to produce additional items. The business soon grew to supply the monthly Windhoek Street Market and then to the opening of a permanent stand at the Windhoek Craft Centre.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015