For its debut UK exhibition at 50 Golborne Gallery, Ubhule displays a collection of works around a common theme: water. Indeed, water is a daily preoccupation in a region where it’s a precious resource. Figuratively, it’s also a powerful motif connected to femininity in both Xhosa and Zulu cultures. It is believed, for instance, that a woman healer, called a sangoma, must devote herself in bodies of water to harness her spiritual powers.
The 15 panels that compose ‘Dreams Are Like Water’ express themes of feminine power and belief systems. Traditionally, the act of beading is a way for women to reach a divine state. Like streams of consciousness, allusions to water are woven in as subjects, and when on display, light subtly reflects off the surface of the glass beadwork giving the tableaux a sense of fluidity. For the viewer, the beaded objects express the artist’s spiritual power.