Keiskamma Art Project (KAP): Celebrating Hamburg’s Beauty through Scenic Wallpaper Collection
The idyllic seaside village of Hamburg sits along the edge of the Indian Ocean on a strip better known as the Sunshine Coast – roughly halfway between Port Alfred and East London. The area, arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the Eastern Cape, is defined by rolling hills blanketed with indigenous vegetation, abundant birdlife, and the welcoming Keiskamma River estuary that leads into the village. It is also home to the multi-award-winning Keiskamma Art Project (KAP), founded in 2000 by Dr. Carol Hofmeyer.
Over the past two decades and four years, the project’s women and men from Hamburg have produced major embroidered textile artworks, sharing their stories and experiences while bringing the oral history tradition of the Eastern Cape to visual life. Now, for the first time since its founding, three artists from the project, namely Anelisa Nyongo, Nozibele Nxadi, and project director Cebo Mvubu, have collaborated with Clout/SA, a purpose-driven creative agency and business-to-business market maker that facilitates opportunities for collaboration between designer-makers and corporate clients, to create a design collection.
From Personal Narratives to Scenic Wallpaper
While the artists’ celebrated and often large-scale embroidered artworks typically explore personal narratives, confronting South Africa’s history and the successes and failures of present-day South Africa, the design collection takes a moment to celebrate the landscape and the fauna and flora of Hamburg.
With curatorial guidance from Clout/SA’s creative director, Tracy Lynch, Clout/SA challenged the artists to create an embroidered piece that referenced what a scenic and quintessentially South African wallpaper might look like. The intention was to allow the KAP artists’ embroidery style to be expressed as a printed scenic wallpaper and a collection of compatible printed textiles.
The artists will unveil the striking results at 100% Design South Africa in August 2023. The designs will be showcased on the aforementioned wallpaper and on a bench, chairs, scatter cushions, and bolster cushions.
Additionally, the collaboration provides the project with a commercial opportunity that contributes to the artists’ livelihoods. Clout/SA, as an intermediary between the creative sector and corporate businesses, has mainly facilitated opportunities for designer-makers in the past. However, the lessons the agency has learned and the infrastructure the team has built can also be very beneficial for artist collectives such as the Keiskamma Art Project, as explained by Lynch.
Where to Get the Scenic Wallpaper Collection
Cara Saven Wall Design will print the wallpaper, and the collection will be available for retail from their studio. Clout/SA has collaborated with designer David Krynauw to highlight the incredible fabric prints. David Krynauw will launch and showcase a collection at Clout/SA’s stand at 100% Design South Africa. The collection will include chairs, a bench, and a four-poster bed, sharing the endless possibilities of the inaugural KAP design collection.
Beyond the Exhibition
You can find the wallpaper at Cara Saven Wall Design, while the chairs will be available from furniture designer David Krynauw. Additionally, you can make fabric enquiries through Clout/SA’s website. Beyond the pieces exhibited at 100% Design South Africa, the decorative embroideries present an opportunity for interior designers, architects, and homeowners to bring the aesthetic developed by Keiskamma Art Project‘s artists into a diverse range of spaces and built environments.
‘Sometimes there’s the fear that if you mass-produce or digitally print original textile artwork, there’s going to be a loss of quality, or that you will lose the aura and the spirit of the work, but this collaboration hasn’t been the case. It actually supports the original creativity and mystique. Tracy and Clout/SA understand Hamburg and the Keiskamma Art Project, and they haven’t shown even a glimmer of exploitation or self-interest. It’s been pure passion and excitement for Hamburg and the work of the Keiskamma Art Project,’ says Howse.