This is an image of some of the BACK of my new large quilt that I am calling Protection Blanket for Africa. I am very excited about the central embroidery in this construction as it is one of the ones I purchased from African Threads, Valerie Hearder's project for Stephen Lewis' grandmother to grandmother campaign. I asked Valerie to find out more information about the artist and what the imagery meant and this is what Jackie Downs, the co-ordinator of Keiskamma art projects in Africa wrote back in an email.
"The cow sampler you asked about: This was made when we were focusing a lot of our work on cows. In these pieces we encouraged the embroiderer or beader to draw a picture of their own cow. Cows are the wealth of the Xhosa nation and in customary Xhosa culture the cows are a mans responsibility. In our project it is the women who are taking responsibility for their families and lives so through needlework they are working with the cows.
The name of the artist appears on the top in this case Nobonile (at least it looks like Nobonile), she is from the village Bell which is about 15 km from Hamburg. The name of the cow is at the bottom, Flepu. My friend Noseti says it is just a name but probably has significance to the family"
As you can see, this is a very strong embroidery and I am in love with it. I hope that the artist Nobonie, doesn't mind that I've combined our art work in this way. Thanks Nobonie.