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Buttons & Bows Celebration of Vintage Xhosa Textiles and Artefacts



Buttons & Bows Celebration of Vintage Xhosa Textiles and Artefacts

Buttons & Bows Celebration of Vintage Xhosa Textiles and Artefacts meticulously collected by alum and former staff member Marion Gebhardt, will open at the Terra Contemporary Gallery in Pretoria on 15 June at 14:00.

This event promises to be a delightful journey through time and tradition, offering visitors a rare opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the beauty and craftsmanship of the Xhosa culture.

Buttons & Bows Celebration of Vintage Xhosa Textiles and Artefacts

Marion Gebhardt, who worked in the Department of Fine and Studio Arts, Faculty of Arts and Design, for several years, has been collecting authentic ethnic beadwork, garments, and artefacts since the 1980s.

“The initial impetus for the collection was originally an investment and mostly came directly from the people, who were happy to exchange their everyday items for what they generally needed,” says Gebhardt.

This collection process not only fostered cultural identity and awareness but also emphasized the importance of preservation and education.

The Artistry of Xhosa Textiles

The exhibition will feature several intricate ochre blankets, which were originally practical items of clothing. Their artistic value lies in their intricate decoration, with patterns and colors that identify different clans. These blankets are estimated to be between 40 and 60 years old.

“The purpose of the exhibition is to act as a backdrop to inspire new creative outlets while raising awareness of traditions that may be forgotten and lost forever,” Gebhardt adds.

Contributions from Alumni

Several alumni from the Faculty of Arts and Design will also participate in the exhibition, adding their individual creativity to the showcase. These include:

  • Godisang Ogunbambi – Fine and Studio Arts (Textiles)
  • Adri Rademeyer – Fine and Studio Arts
  • Trevor Kahn – Visual Communication (Photography)
  • Michaelangelo – Fine and Studio Arts
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The exhibition will be opened by Godisang Ogunbambi, who is also a part-time lecturer in the Department of Fine and Studio Arts, and will run until 10 July.

Event Details and Directions

The Buttons & Bows exhibition is set to be an enriching cultural experience, offering a unique glimpse into the rich heritage of the Xhosa people. Don’t miss this chance to explore the artistry and history of these beautiful textiles and artefacts.

  • Opening Date: 15 June at 14:00
  • Location: Terra Contemporary Gallery, Pretoria
  • Exhibition Duration: Until 10 July

For directions to the gallery, click here.

For enquiries, contact 072 141 9622.


Buttons & Bows is more than just an exhibition; it is a celebration of Xhosa culture and craftsmanship. By preserving and showcasing these vintage textiles and artefacts, Marion Gebhardt and the participating alumni are not only honoring the past but also inspiring future creativity. Join them in this cultural journey and discover the timeless beauty of Xhosa artistry.

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