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Art of Independence

by Tyra Knox
Unite Contributing Writer

Springfield, MO— The Springfield Art Museum currently has an exhibition going on through November 10th, titled “Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence”.
This traveling exhibition presents a spectacular overview of a new form of bead art, the ndwango (“cloth”), developed by a community of women living and working together in rural Kwa Zula-Natal, South Africa.
Using skills handed down through generations and working in their own unique style “directly from the soul” (in the words of artist Ntombeph Ntobela), the women create abstract as well as figurative subjects for their ndwangos.

Uhuhle means “beauty” in the Xhosa and Zula languages and well describes the shimmering quality of light on glass that for the Xhosa people has a special spiritual significance.

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence was developed by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, D.C. in cooperation with Curators Bev Gibson, Ubuhle Beads and James Green.

The Springfield Art Museum invites you to come anytime during normal operating hours to view this elaborate exhibit or you can join a scheduled guided tour or request your own guided group tour through November 10th, free of charge, by contacting Museum Assistant Shauna Smith @ 417-837-5700 or

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. There is no minimum group number required to schedule tours. Tours can be made available on weekdays and weekends. Tours generally last one hour.

I walked through the exhibit on my own and then I took my sister to the Museum so she could see this unbelievable talent being exhibited. Needless to say, she was not at all disappointed in the beauty and skills of these ladies from South Africa.

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