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Article

Simon Njami

(b Karentaba, 1954).

Senegalese painter and furniture designer. He graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure d’Education Artistique and the International School of Art and Research, Nice. He taught at the Ecole Nationale des Arts and in 1997 was president of the National Association of Fine Arts, Senegal, as well as a member of the Economic and Social Council of Senegal. In the 1980s his ‘dense and emotive’ works were figurative and dealt with general issues such as violence. His work of the mid-1990s was made with strips of cotton cloth, fashioned on canvases so as to create areas of three-dimensional relief, and colored with browns and ochres. He also created brightly coloured figurative acrylic pieces on paper. He exhibited in the first (1995) and second (1997) Johannesburg Biennale and at other international shows in Senegal, Russia, Belgium, Switzerland, Burkina-Faso, Argentina, the USA and elsewhere. His furniture designs include a table made from old machinery parts, gears, hoes and glass, which was included in Dak’Art ’98. In the late 1990s he was considered one of Senegal’s pre-eminent artists....

Article

South African, 20th century, male.

Born 1943, in Hlabisa area, Natal (KwaZulu-Natal); died 2007.

Basketweaver.

Reuben Ndwandwe lived in the Hlabisa area of KwaZulu-Natal. He was taught to weave at the Mahashini Primary School under the apartheid regime, when such crafts were compulsory for black students. In pre-industrial South Africa, most basket weaving was done by men. By the early 20th century, due to the migrant labour system and the availability of plastic and metal containers, this activity had all but died out. In the 1950s, missionary organisations supported a revival of the craft in KwaZulu-Natal as a means to economic upliftment, especially for women. Ndwandwe was encouraged to pursue basket weaving during a long convalescence in hospital. He was one of the few men pursuing the craft in the second half of the 20th century and was renowned for his immaculately woven lidded baskets with intricate over-weaving and subtle colours....