Monday, March 31, 2008
I have a soft spot for all things South African and as soon as the theme was announced found a way to connect my quilt with Cape Town. District Six was a vibrant, multi-ethnic community which was cleared by forced removals during the apartheid era. Over 60,000 occupants were forced to move to the 'homelands' where there was little or no infrastructure or employment or else ended up in the desolate 'townships' in the Cape Flats. The area was destined for redevelopment but in fact was never built on again.
The District Six museum, is now a place of remembrance to a destroyed community. One worker, employed to bulldoze the houses and shops had the foresight to save the street signs which now hang in the museum over a giant map on the floor of the main hall.
I printed these out to use as the left and right 'bars' of the quilt. The top and bottom are my first attempt at stamping fabric using a Sherril Khan stamp from a fabric paint kit my husband bought me to play with. I suspect the letter stamping could be more distinct but we live and learn. I plead the excuse for having 2 weeks less than the rest of you due to my holidays!
I wanted to represent firstly the shame of the heart being ripped out of the comunity, hence the missing centre of the quilt. I made the bars seperately and sewed them togther by hand whipstitch ( badly as you can see - and the photo makes it look even worse!) Recently there have been attempts to start to rebuild the community with 24 houses first being built. On 11 February 2004, exactly 38 years after being rezoned by the government, Nelson Mandela ( my all time hero!) handed the keys to the first returning residents, Ebrahim Murat (87) and Dan Ndzabela (82).
I could not fit 24 houses on but these mobile like houses dangling in the space represent the 'drop in the ocean' start to fill in the gap left by apartheid. The houses are made by free motion embroidery on some stiff white stuff I was sold to make fabric postcards with ( but never did!) I have no idea what it is called! I do feel that my vision is far more advanced than my technical skills at the moment. If we ever have an exhibit I might remake this with what I hope will be increased ability by that stage. However for now, I am loving trying new things out with a purpose and being part of our own encouraging, supportive, accepting and playful community.