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Siyazama: Building Awareness of AIDS through Community Art

SiyazamaThe Siyazama Project is currently exhibiting their collection of tiny, handmade beaded dolls at the A.R.T Show at the Tatham Art Gallery.

The project founder, Kate Wells, explained the project’s aims to the Witness: “Siyazama craftswomen have ­produced hundreds of small, beautifully beaded child-figure dolls, that collectively make a strong statement about the statistics with regard to the AIDS orphans in South Africa.” The project has also resulted in the publication of the book, Siyazama: Art, AIDS and Education, edited by Kate Wells, Marsha Macdowell, Kurt Dewhurst, and Marit Dewhurst.

The Witness‘ Estelle Simpkins describes the current exhibition as “striking and moving” and provides an insight into the making of the dolls:

ONE of the most striking and moving works in The A.R.T. Show at the Tatham Art Gallery is the tower of tiny beaded dolls, made by the crafters of the Siyazama Project.

The work aims to make a statement about the huge numbers of Aids orphans in South Africa, and the impact those numbers have on the communities where the children live. At last count, South Africa is believed to have 3,7 million Aids orphans — a number the project founder, professor Kate Wells, describes as “terrifying”.

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