Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zulu Dolls from South Africa ~ International Folk Art Market 2010

Today I'm taking a break from my studio sorting to show you my two new dolls from South Africa. In booth 102 of the Sante Fe International Folk Art Market, I met Lobolile Ximba. She is a master craftswoman and the representative of the Siyazama Project in Umsinga. Part of the work these women do is to promote HIV/AIDS awareness in their rural communities.

These two dolls represent Zulu married women. The dolls depicting single women or young girls do not have the same headdress. In my mind, these beauties are me and my younger sister. I'm older, taller and I've been married a lot longer. Maybe I've earned a few extra stripes. Okay, now I'm taking liberties, but I love these colorful figures. The design is fairly uncomplicated, yet they seem full of personality. Look at those sisters, discussing another day in the life with their husbands. *giggle*

There were also dolls which were all in black and white. They're representative of the Ushembe religion. The white beads symbolize purity as well as peace, truth, honesty and innocence. They were very striking and I was drawn to them except for the fact that they had angel wings. I don't want to cause any controversy on my blog or anything, but I find angels to be sort of, hmm... what will get me into the least amount of trouble? Well, they just seem a little silly to me. I know they may symbolize something special to many people, so I mean no disrespect.

Before I flee from these eggshells I'm walking on, when I was talking to Lobolile, she told me that they put the wings on the black and white dolls just for the market. I guess they have found that we are into angels here. As a matter a fact, there were quite a few booths with angel sections making me wonder if it has become a common marketing strategy. The only conclusions I'll draw are that these are very astute business people and I may be in the minority as to my angel sentiments.

What I love about an international marketplace is that you get to be an eyewitness to the commonalities of humankind. There, in plaster, paint, beads and fabric are physical representations of what we all feel and experience as people. You see love, faith, anger, fear and hope. One of my favorite children's books is Whoever you Are by Mem Fox. I used to read it to my boys all the time. I wanted them to know that there were people just like them all over the world. They may look different or live in different houses, but they
feel the same joy and the same pain.

To my sister Erica, if you are reading this, you are also seeing part of your Christmas present although I hate to separate us!


Anonymous said...

pardon me for asking, but are you an athiest?
dont kill me for asking. darn my curiousity.

Jenn said...

No, not an athiest, but my beliefs tend to be more universal in nature coupled with more of an academic approach. What I mean is that I'm always studying and learning and that my areas of study are boundless.

Anonymous said...

cool. ♥