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n De Arte - Inventing the 'vernacular' : cases in South African crafts : research

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Abstract

This article investigates the notion of the 'contemporary vernacular' in the visual arts and how this is invented or developed in response to certain national imperatives, as delineated in Hobsbawm & Ranger (1983), Fine (2004) and Bowe (1993). It then examines the socio-political factors that give rise to the need for the invention of the 'contemporary vernacular' and the characteristics of such 'vernacular' arts, and clarifies this theoretical explanation briefly in relation to two historical examples, viz. the Russian doll and the products of Morris & Co., the Victorian craft company belonging to William Morris. It then examines three examples of contemporary South African crafts, namely Ardmore Ceramic Art, Kaross embroideries and the Mapula project. The works produced by these initiatives show stylistic characteristics that reveal a developing South African 'contemporary vernacular' and, furthermore, in their modes of production, correlate with the social, political and economic characteristics of 'vernacular' arts in a number of countries.

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/content/dearte/2009/79/EJC31068
2009-01-01
2016-12-04
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