Medium: Fabric, hand and machine embroidery, beadwork by Ngoneni Kubheka.
Artist’s Statement: Corina Lemmer - The threads that bind us.
My farming roots go deep. As deep as my sewing skills. I descend from a line of farmers scattered over Africa and am married to a farmer. My mother and grandmother added to the household income through dressmaking and handwork.
The forefathers of Ngoneni Kubheka, a Zulu beadworker and subsistence farmer, did the same. Since the early nineties, we have collaborated to make artworks in which our handwork represents us.
Ngoneni and I use our different love letters to look back at the history of our country. I embroider copies of my letters, to combine with Ngoneni’s beaded messages to a boyfriend working on the mines. Our shared experiences transcend barriers of language, culture, and race.
In the series of works “Prayers to heal the land”, there are references to man’s labour, to gender roles and to cultural diversity. I utilize old khaki clothing to shape my prayers about the anxiety in rural communities, caused by politics, economics, environmental threats, and pandemics. I pray for solutions as everlasting and peaceful as the Drakensberg mountains under which we live.