Enjoy The Beautiful Things as exhibition returns

Crafters showcase different talents with handmade products

Detailed sculptures like this one are major attractions at The Living Heritage Women’s Museum at Sammy Marks Square.

An exhibition that showcases a wide range of high-quality handmade products by talented crafters from across the country is back. 

Titled The Beautiful Things, the exhibition is regarded as one of the biggest annual craft exhibitions in the country.

It was hosted by Mpumalanga last year and this year it is happening in Gauteng.

The exhibition has turned The Living Heritage Women’s Museum at Pretoria’s Sammy Marks Square into a buzzing arts scene.

This time, it will be on for six months and will be running along with a craft shop. 

The Beautiful Things exhibition concept started in 2002 when SA hosted World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Some of the crafts products that are on display at The Living Heritage Women’s Museum at Sammy Marks Square in Pretoria.
The annual exhibition not only celebrates the crafters, it also brings about awareness of the rich potential for entrepreneurship in the craft sector of the creative industries.

It features 19 talented crafters from across the country. 

Curated by Andile Magengelele, the theme of this year’s craft exhibition is Hands On.

Magengelele noted that the theme connotes that the work on display.  

Speaking to TimeOut from Switzerland where he has been based for four years, Magengelele says the theme is the guiding philosophy for thinking beyond and creating space for the creative exchange of ideas.

He says the work on display is meant for the purpose of education, preservation of history, culture, heritage and public enjoyment.

In curating the show, Magengele and his team chose craft that is unique.

Some of the crafts products that are on display at The Living Heritage Women’s Museum at Sammy Marks Square in Pretoria.
He says the work on display is aesthetically moved between contemporary and traditional.

He says the craft is inclusive and reflective of SA’s diversity. 

“It basically represent the most significant panorama of SA craft practice. This new generation of crafters were born witnessing the changes of the country whether politically, economically or culturally. You have young crafters who come from a traditional background of craft but they went to university to be trained. They are mixing both traditional and modernity, which is something that is mind blowing.” 

The Beautiful Things presents crafts lovers with colourful works from wooden and bronze sculpture to bead creations and ceramic products.

Some of the crafts products that are on display at The Living Heritage Women’s Museum at Sammy Marks Square in Pretoria.

Those who love colorful beaded creations from necklaces, neck rings and earrings, the craft exhibition is the place to be. 

The Beautiful Things embraces and celebrates shifts in social realities via the creation of an artistic language – thus expressing the world through creative visions informed by changes the country has seen. In so doing, we try to capture the contemporary thirst to discover alternative histories and embrace the unpredictable trajectory of cultural narratives in post-apartheid SA.

“The new vision of arts and culture goes beyond social cohesion of nourishing the soul of the nation. We believe that arts and culture play a vital role in economic self-determination and skills development of people,” says Magengelele.     

He says that craft was “not only a vehicle for economic empowerment, but also carries our history, stories and traditions from generation to generation”.  

“An exhibition like this allows our unique design aesthetic to evolve as younger crafters and makers are emerging. It provides access to market and new networks for creatives from all over the country.

“By including the incubation angle, we are able to nurture new and older talent and ensure that these gems are being taken to global markets,” he says. 

Article by courtesy of SowetanLive – Journalist: Patience Bambalele


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